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Why Would DAESH Attack Paris?

Vox produced this video a few hours ago, explaining the reasons why DAESH would attack Paris. I agree with their reasoning so here it is:

 

73 Responses to “Why Would DAESH Attack Paris?”

  1. Night-Gaunt49 says:

    Didn’t the Japanese Empire wanted to warn the US from bothering them by attacking, though failing to take over Hawai’i? We saw how well that worked. France has never evinced an aversion to going to other countries to kill. As they went to N.Africa an in their former colonies attacked and destroyed and uprising that would have redrawn the map. So this is a grave mistake on their part.

    I agree, it is an act from weakness, a desperate act they are hoping will stop France from getting involved. Human psychology won’t work that way anymore than the German bombing of London did during World War 2.

  2. Heather, you may agree with the reasoning but the video clip is completely contrary to all the facts we know about ISIS and their goals and methods. Several specialist works on ISIS have come out recently that are based on research involving ISIS members and supporters themselves, intelligence and military agencies involved directly with ISIS, and more….

    Scott Atran has recently posted an extract from the al-Qaeda/ISIS “manual (a sort of Mein Kampf text titled “Management of Savagery”) and they state their reasons for the Paris attack directly.

    They WANT to bring the Western powers into a direct land-war in the Middle East. See Stern and Berger among others.

    They don’t care about a few tactical losses or dying, they are a martyrdom cult after all.

    Dramatic terror attacks like Paris have proven to be for them a great propaganda and recruiting act to get more young people to join them and repeat more of the same themselves.

    • Actually now that you mention it, I remember the theory that that DAESH actually wants this war. I’ve even written about it myself! 🙂 I can’t believe I forgot. It’s even in my notes for a post I’m planning. (I’ve been mucking up a lot in the last week. I obviously need to sort myself out.)

      It makes more sense anyway. The leaders are too intelligent to think that terrorism against Western targets would stop people attacking them – the opposite is always the response when the victim is militarily superior. It’s a goal they’ve never made a secret of, and neither has al-Qaeda for that matter.

      Thanks for the links. I’m subscribed to your blog, but those posts are still sitting in my e-mail waiting for me to read them. I’ve been out of town, and it always takes me a while to catch up when I get back.

      • The most horrific thing about ISIS is that while we abhor their dramatic displays of grotesque barbarism they relish in them because they actually excite more young people to join them: they see them as strong, as serious, as the true vanguard for their utopian caliphate.

        We fell into their (al-Qaeda’s) trap of responding to 9/11 with war — just as al-Qaeda wanted; and now the result has been just as al-Qaeda hoped — even more recruits to terrorism, more horrific acts, more fear in the West . . .

        It really looks like we stuck in this for a generation as Stern & Berger themselves conclude.

        Have fun catching up. I’m also in catch-up mode having just slipped back from Bali after delays caused by the volcanic ash there.

        • Bali! Not a bad place to be stuck! 🙂

          Yeah, it’s something I struggle with. On the one hand I can see how from a distance it looks like a show of strength and would attract followers, and on the other, I wonder what kind of people would be attracted by those acts. I know it’s not that simple, especially when you’re young, but I still think there must be a bit of damage there. Probably society as a whole needs to take some responsibility for that.

          It seems to me the leadership are very good at identifying the “strengths” of individuals, and someone like Jihadi John was put in that role because he relished it just like a Chief Inquisitor, and of course there are those they know can be persuaded to be “martyrdom” bombers. I think a lot of people have underestimated them in the past – they won’t be doing that after the last couple of weeks (Egypt and Lebanon as well as Paris).

    • Coel says:

      They don’t care about a few tactical losses or dying, they are a martyrdom cult after all.

      So you’ve now come round to the realisation that there is a strong religious and ideological aspect to ISIS? After all your railing against New Atheists, calling them “ankle deep thinkers” for saying that religious belief systems are a big factor?

      • ?? — Coel, do you have me confused with someone else? You are certainly confusing me now. I have never denied the religious element in Islamic terrorism nor have I ever accused New Atheist thinkers for saying religious belief systems are a big factor in ISIS. I was often accused of doing so because of my criticisms of Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne that still stand. I fear Maajid Nawaz has been taken for a bit of a ride by Sam Harris, actually. . . .

        • Coel says:

          Hi Neil,

          I have never denied the religious element in Islamic terrorism nor have I ever accused New Atheist thinkers for saying religious belief systems are a big factor in ISIS.

          Haven’t you? OK, well here are quotes of you on your blog (added emphasis):

          “This is the error that Coyne, Harris, Dawkins make. They rely upon mass media impressions and distortions to lay the blame for suicide bombing on religious belief systems. Their thinking is ankle-deep and logically fallacious. Because some of these bombers believe they will receive a heavenly reward after death they jump to the conclusion that it was because they believe in the heavenly reward that they were in part motivated into a suicide bombing mission.”

          Also:

          “The logical fallacy here is surely obvious (but apparently not to Coyne). If “Islam” is in any way responsible then we have a real problem — How on earth do we explain the millions and millions of Muslims who don’t commit this crime?”

          Your more recent comments, however, recognising the religious and Islamic element, and describing ISIS as “a martyrdom cult”, seem to be a welcome revision of your views. They’re also what Coyne & Dawkins et al have been saying all along, which you previous labelled as “ankle-deep” and “logically fallacious” thinking.

          • Coel, we went around in circles because of silly word games and conflations of distinct concepts. Religious belief systems are NOT sufficient to explain behaviour at any time. Religious belief systems are OFTEN used as rationalisations of behaviour. You have accused me over and over of being incapable of grasping multi-causal factors yet it is our target (Sam Harris or Jerry Coyne) who are the ones who write as if there were only ONE sufficient factor to explain terrorism — and their usual caveat that “religion is not the only factor” is never discussed or explained and appears just to be thrown in to be able to say, “Hey, I never said religion is the only factor.”

            The difference between your argument and mine is that I take the range of factors involved in the rise of ISIS as an organisation and in the radicalisation of individuals seriously and I explore many of them in depth — including religion.

            There are many prima facie reasons alone for dismissing the notion that Islam or the Koran is responsible for the Paris attacks.

            What we need to understand is why some individuals and not others (even from the same family, the same backgrounds, the same networks even) choose violence and others reject it. Then we can isolate something meaningful towards a solution.

            Blaming religion is useless and counterproductive.

          • Coel says:

            Neil,

            … yet it is our target (Sam Harris or Jerry Coyne) who are the ones who write as if there were only ONE sufficient factor to explain terrorism …

            As I’ve said to you repeatedly when you say such things about Coyne et al, it would be good if you would actually QUOTE them saying the things you say they are saying!

            You have accused me over and over of being incapable of grasping multi-causal factors …

            But, unlike yourself re Coyne, I’m basing my claim on direct quotes. You said:

            “The logical fallacy here is surely obvious (but apparently not to Coyne). If “Islam” is in any way responsible then we have a real problem — How on earth do we explain the millions and millions of Muslims who don’t commit this crime?”

            That sentence can only have been written by someone adopting the fallacy of a single-cause model. I’ve previously tried to highlight the error with this analogy:

            “If smoking were in any way responsible for cancer, then how on earth do we explain the millions of smokers who don’t have cancer?”

            Much of your earlier writings on this revealed such single-cause misconceptions. The idea that if “Islam” were part of the cause, then it would have to be the case that all Muslims were terrorists, and thus that if there are non-terrorist Muslims, then it cannot be the case that Islam is even a part of the causation, is just a clear example.

            A similar single-cause misconception is your pointing to the (blatantly obvious) role of political and social factors in such terrorism, and saying that that shows that religion is not even a part of the cause — the misconception, again, being the idea that it must be one or the other and cannot be both.

            Anyhow, it seems from your more recent writing on this that you may now have realised what was wrong with your earlier posts, and might now be accepting a multi-cause model, with religion as a major factor — in which case, good.

          • AU says:

            Oh for crying out loud, why are you taking this discussion OT? You have, IMHO, obsessively argued with Neil, you guys didn’t agree, so why drag that debate into here?

            I don’t know whether you genuinely do believe what you write, but you are extremely disingeneous, so for the final time, I feel compelled to show your dishonesty, and this will be my only post on this topic here.

            You claim that Neil was saying Islam doesn’t have anything to do with terrorism. The post you quote from is here:
            http://vridar.org/2015/08/12/on-how-to-be-completely-wrong-about-radicalisation-the-curious-case-of-jerry-coyne/#comment-72455

            However, it is clear from the context and other posts by Neil in that same comments section that Neil isn’t saying religion cannot play a part at all. For example, here is Neil commenting in the same comments section:

            My point has been to try to show that religion is not ignored in this work at all, and its role is clearly studied and explained. The point is, however, that the same research produces evidence demonstrating that religion is not a necessary factor and is not the one consistent factor in all terrorist attacks, and that there are well understood factors (based on scholarly research) that do lead one to become a terrorist and religion generally has a relatively superficial place among these.

            So it is clear to see that here Neil is saying that religion can play a part in terrorism too. However, you are focusing on just that one sentence, which taken out of context, can be interpreted as Neil believing Islam plays no part. This is very intellectually dishonest of you.

            Your tribalism towards Coyne is also clear to see, as exposed in that same comments section, when you showed that when it comes to Coyne, you do not form your conclusion based on facts, but you choose your conclusion first (that Coyne is a good guy), and then try and fit “facts” around that:
            http://vridar.org/2015/08/12/on-how-to-be-completely-wrong-about-radicalisation-the-curious-case-of-jerry-coyne/#comment-72669

            You once argued that you have disagreed with Coyne and therefore you don’t hero worship him – well, that point is irrelevant. Your starting point that he is a good guy and therefore cannot be unfairly censoring people, instead of trying to establish the facts first, show that you are not intellectually honest, that you are biased, and therefore, you cannot be taken seriously when it comes to debating the works of Coyne.

            Finally, you completely miss the point, either deliberately or due to ignorance, when people argue religion shouldn’t be the focus of terrorism. We all know that the Paris attacks would not have happened if the attackers were not Muslim. We also know the Paris attackers would not have happened if you had not been born – because history would have panned out differently. Does it mean we should blame you for the Paris attacks?
            Now you yourself agree that there are many reasons for a terrorist attack, and religion isn’t the only one. However, you and Coyne et al focus on religion, because you say it is a significant factor, but your argument is flawed.
            Say there is a society where many people have swords. Suppose there is a lot of injustice in that society that causes a lot of unemployment, poverty, lack of healthcare – this all leads to some very angry people. Say many of the times when these people get angry they go and kill someone with a sword. Furthermore, even people who are not unhappy and are well off start to kill some other people by swords – they see all this violence by swords, they are a bit fascinated by swords, and so some people who might never have killed someone are now drawn into this violence and kill someone with a sword. So swords are clearly a factor in the killings – if there were no swords, the person who was killed by a sword would not have been killed by a sword. So if we want to stop all these killings, what should we do? We can start campaigning against swords, saying they cause harm, and people should not have them. We might be able to get rid of some swords, and now Mohammed, who was very angry and would probably have killed someone with a sword, isn’t able to kill someone with a sword. However, the people are still very angry. The swords have started to go, so Mohammed goes and gets a gun, and kills people. Other people start to get guns too – and the killigs continue. In fact, the number of killings has now gone up because guns can be used to kill more people. Therefore, focusing mainly on swords alone was silly – we should have focused on everything. We should have focused on what makes people use their swords to kill others. Sure, controlling access to sword can be an important step in reducing the killing, but to go around blaming swords is silly, because if we don’t address the root cause, then the swords will be replaced by something else. If everytime I wrote an article on how swords are bad each time there was a killing, it would be very unhelpful if I refused to also discuss the other issues.
            Similarly, we have seen that terrorism has existed without religion. We have seen that socio-economic factors and grievances play a major part in terrorism. Therefore, to cherry pick religion and focus on that is silly. Now Dawkins admits that terrorism probably has a political cause in most cases – however, in his every day writing, he completely downplays the other factors such as politics and focuses solely on religion. If he genuinely cared about reducing terrorism, he wouldn’t take this position, but he does, because he is simply interested in points scoring, and this is why I saw New Atheists tend to be so similar to conservatives – instead of engaging in an honest discussion, both groups will usually use a tragedy to score points and further their own bigoted agendas.

            The saddest thing is that there are a lot of good, liberal people, who have been brainwashed by New Atheism, and so wheras before they would have been activists in trying to address the injustices in the world that cause a lot of terrorism, they simply peddle the line of “RELIGION!”.

          • My opinion is people are made vulnerable to radicalization by political, socio-economic, cultural and other factors. They don’t necessarily have to be suffering themselves – it may be that it is seeing others suffer that makes them angry. The marginalization of those in the outer suburbs of Paris is a well known issue, and one of the main reasons France has the highest number of its citizens joining DAESH. Once they are angry, the way they respond depend on who channels that anger, and their beliefs. There are teachings in radical Islam that mean a person is more likely to choose violence to respond than most other belief systems. For example, the theology of dying for your religion gives a person hero status, as it did in the early days of Christianity (from which we have literally thousands of saints).

            This is why some of us talk of Islamism currently being a problem. The export of Wahhabism by Saudi Arabia is, imo, a crime against humanity. I can’t help feeling that the only reason the Saudi royal family opposes DAESH is because they think they should be the ones to lead the caliphate.

          • Coel says:

            Ah yes, AU, another one who, in the previous discussion, showed that he didn’t understand multiple causation. Anyhow:

            You claim that Neil was saying Islam doesn’t have anything to do with terrorism. […] focusing on just that one sentence, which taken out of context, can be interpreted as Neil believing Islam plays no part. This is very intellectually dishonest of you.

            No, my claim is that, in his previous writings, Neil was confused over single versus multiple causation, which led him to attribute fallacies to Coyne and Dawkins, when the fallacies were actually his own.

            Further, I have said that, as a result of this fallacious thinking, his writings have been inconsistent. Nothing in your reply refutes that.

            You have not presented any alternative interpretation of the sentences of Neil’s that I have quoted. Nor has Neil given any; nor has he retracted nor re-stated them. He continues to make criticisms of Coyne and Dawkins on this issue, and thus my continuing to point this out is fair.

            Your starting point that he [Coyne] is a good guy and therefore cannot be unfairly censoring people, instead of trying to establish the facts first, show that you are not intellectually honest, …

            And at this point you’re going to quote the bit where I say that “Coyne is a good guy and therefore cannot be unfairly censoring people”. Aren’t you?

            No, I suspect you’re not, because I haven’t said it. So here you are suggesting that something I have not said, something that you merely falsely attribute to me, shows that I am being intellectually dishonest.

            When I criticise Neil, I have the decency to quote exactly the sentences that I am basing my criticism on. If he wishes to retract or re-state those sentences then I’ll accept that.

            I notice that you and Neil are a lot less keen on supplying quotes for the stuff that you want to put in other people’s mouths.

          • AU says:

            Ah yes, AU, another one who, in the previous discussion, showed that he didn’t understand multiple causation.

            Nope – you have difficulty reading and so you come up with all sorts of weird ideas where you imagine others are thinking something they’re not.

            No, my claim is that, in his previous writings, Neil was confused over single versus multiple causation

            Nope – you have difficulty reading and so you come up with all sorts of weird ideas where you imagine others are thinking something they’re not.

            He clearly said many times in that very same comments section that religion can play a part – he clearly did not believe in single-causation. You just failed to understand Dan Jones’ post – it seems to have gone way over your head.

            BTW, I now understand why you came up with that ridiculous statement that if there was no Islam, then terrorism will reduce – it’s because Jerry Coyne also thinks similarly! This is what Coyne said on his blog:

            Yes, of course other factors are involved, but take religion out of the multifactorial mix—rerun Middle Eastern history when there is no religion and no Allah—and I seriously doubt this would be happening. There is no way that Atran can demonstrate otherwise.

            And my response was (which he of course didn’t publish but I posted it at Vridar):
            This is even more absurd. You have absolutely no idea of knowing whether, if there had been no religion in the Middle East, that region would be more peaceful or not. Absolutely none. For all we know, it could have been much worse.
            Imagine German history had been different, the Church had maintained power, and Europe was still involved in religious wars in 1945. Now if someone said “take religion out of the multifactorial mix—rerun European history when there is no religion and no Christ—and I seriously doubt this would be happening”, they would have been right, it wouldn’t have been happening – but something much, much worse would [sic:probably] have been happening, as we saw with the Nazis. Similarly, if there was no religion and Allah in Middle Eastern history, there isn’t anything to suggest that region would have been more peaceful now, and there is no way that you can demonstrate otherwise.

            No, I suspect you’re not, because I haven’t said it. So here you are suggesting that something I have not said, something that you merely falsely attribute to me, shows that I am being intellectually dishonest.

            That isn’t the way it works. By your logic, we should never blame a suicide bomber of being motivated by Islam unless you cam quote the suicide bomber of saying “I am doing this suicide bombing because I am motivated by Islam”. That is really dumb logic. The way it works is you can come to a reasonable conclusion about someone based on their actions. Your actions were consistent with you thinking Coyne is a good guy who doesn’t censor people. If someone said to me “Hey, your mum was very rude to me”, I am not going to start defending my mum straight away, I am going to ask that person why they think my mum was rude. If I start defending my mum straight away without even asking them why, then that means I am either biased towards my mum or I think she could not have been rude.
            Similarly, you had no interest in asking why Coyne censored comments, you immediately jumped to his defence. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume you are either biased or you think he is a good guy that doesn’t censor comments and if he censored comments he has good reason. Either way, it doesn’t look good for you, and unfortunately for you, the thread is up there for everyone to see.

          • Coel says:

            AU, that screed is just a smokescreen trying to hide the fact that Neil Godfrey’s comments, which attributed logical fallacies to Dawkins and Coyne, sneering at them for being shallow thinkers, actually revealed that Godfrey was the one with the grossly fallacious thinking.

            Neither you nor Neil have presented any alternative interpretation of those sentences. Most of your reply is bluster that tries to hide that. Yes, Godfrey has, in other places, pointed to some role for religion. That just shows he has been inconsistent, since it doesn’t negate my point about the sentences that I quoted.

            By the way, I am well aware that Coyne censors comments on his blog. He actually moderates fairly heavily. He is entirely open about this, putting his rules about this on a sidebar.

            So all your flailing around, trying to attribute to me the idea that Coyne doesn’t censor comments — and then calling me intellectually dishonest for things that I’ve not said, but which you have just attributed to me — well, let’s just say that readers can form their own conclusions on intellectual honesty.

          • AU says:

            AU, that screed is just a smokescreen trying to hide the fact that Neil Godfrey’s comments, which attributed logical fallacies to Dawkins and Coyne, sneering at them for being shallow thinkers, actually revealed that Godfrey was the one with the grossly fallacious thinking.

            No – you just fail to understand what he was saying, either deliberately or through ignorance.

            So all your flailing around, trying to attribute to me the idea that Coyne doesn’t censor comments — and then calling me intellectually dishonest for things that I’ve not said, but which you have just attributed to me — well, let’s just say that readers can form their own conclusions on intellectual honesty.

            And again you demonstrate you have difficulty reading the most simplest of statements. I never said you said Coyne doesn’t censor comments – it is obvious from that discussion that you never said that, and neither did I say you said that.
            The issue is that you instead of asking what sort of comments we had posted that Coyne censored, you immediately jumped to his defence. That says a lot about you.

          • Ken says:

            Can we declare a draw? The rest of the world doesn’t care any more.

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            No – you just fail to understand what he was saying, either deliberately or through ignorance.

            And I repeat that neither you nor Neil have presented any alternative interpretation of the sentences I quoted.

            The issue is that you instead of asking what sort of comments we had posted that Coyne censored, you immediately jumped to his defence. That says a lot about you.

            I already knew what Godfrey’s comments were! He had posted about them on his blog!

            Really, your floundering around is amazing. Neither you nor Neil Godfrey abide by the basics of decency and intellectual integrity — if you want to attribute views to people, then you should QUOTE them!

            Not quoting them, even when challenged, is the epitome of intellectual dishonesty.

          • AU says:

            Really, your floundering around is amazing. Neither you nor Neil Godfrey abide by the basics of decency and intellectual integrity — if you want to attribute views to people, then you should QUOTE them!

            Ok, let’s play your game for a while.

            None of the Paris attackers have said religion motivated them. We have no video from any of them saying religion motivated them. Therefore, will you agree with me that neither Heather or Jerry Coyne abide by the basics of decency and intellectual integrity — if they want to attribute views to people (i.e. religion motivated the terrorists), then they should QUOTE the actual terrorists!

            Also, funny how you chose not to address your lie that I said that you said Jerry Coyne doesn’t censor comments, when I said no such thing – and you’re sitting here telling the rest of us about intellectual honesty! 😀

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            None of the Paris attackers have said religion motivated them. …

            You’re right that the attackers haven’t said that religion motivated them, but the ISIS statement, which seems entirely genuine, does say that (and has been pointed to by Heather and Coyne).

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            Let’s recap.

            You: “Your actions were consistent with you thinking Coyne is a good guy who doesn’t censor people.”

            Me in reply: “your flailing around, trying to attribute to me the idea that Coyne doesn’t censor comments …”

            Note the “trying to attribute” wording there. That’s a fair thing to say about the sentence just quoted.

            Then you say: “funny you chose not to address your lie that I said that you said Jerry Coyne doesn’t censor comments”.

            Where did I say the thing you are now calling a “lie”?

            and you’re sitting here telling the rest of us about intellectual honesty!

            Nope, I’m not telling “the rest of us” about intellectual honesty, I’m telling you, AU, too much of a coward to give his name — in particular.

            But please continue, I do like it when vocal critics of New Atheists act like this!

          • AU says:

            You’re right that the attackers haven’t said that religion motivated them, but the ISIS statement, which seems entirely genuine, does say that (and has been pointed to by Heather and Coyne).

            There is no evidence that it is genuine. What evidence do you have that it seems entirely genuine?
            We have seen time and time again that when terrorist attacks happen, groups try to take responsibility for them happening – al Qeada and Taliban did this all the time. Therefore, we have no proof that this statement is actually from someone related to the attack. Now, as we are all rational human beings, we do not jump to conclusions without having any evidence, right? Therefore, as we currently have no evidence that this statement was written by someone who planned the attacks, we cannot use this statement to say what the motives of the attackers were.

            So far, the only fact we have is that someone shouted “Allah-u-Akbar” and “This is for Syria”. Other than that, we know nothing for sure.

            Furthermore, even if we assume that the statement was genuine, and from someone who planned the attacks, again, it doesn’t mean all the attackers shared the same sentiments – again, there is evidence that people often fight under a group even if they don’t share the same ideology because of various other reasons – revenge, anger, that group can offer protection, brotherhood etc.

            Therefore, we have no evidence that the statement reflects what the attackers believed, so we cannot use the statement to say the attackers believed they were going to go to paradise if they died – remember, we are rational, and scientists, we like “evidence”. Therefore, why are Heather and Jerry parroting this line when they have no QUOTES from the attackers?

          • AU says:

            You are right, I did say that, so techinaclly you were not lying.

            Of course, I meant that you think Coyne doesn’t unfairly censor comments, as I had written in my earlier post:

            Your starting point that he is a good guy and therefore cannot be unfairly censoring people

            So, yes, you were not lying, but you were being disingeneous – I made two points, that contradiced one another (because the second time I was typing fast and didn’t proof-read the post), and you decided to focus on the second one where I made a mistake, instead of asking for clarification. Again, cherry-picking – this is what intellectually dishonest people do.

            Nope, I’m not telling “the rest of us” about intellectual honesty, I’m telling you, AU, too much of a coward to give his name — in particular.

            Intellectually dishonest people, especially those whose dishonesty is being exposed, also resort to ad hominem 😀

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            There is no evidence that it is genuine.

            The expert ISIS watchers regard it as likely genuine.

            Again, cherry-picking – this is what intellectually dishonest people do.

            You’ve been throwing out accusations left, right and centre; it is not “intellectually dishonest” to reply to some points and ignore others.

            *All* of this stuff about Coyne and censorship is a complete red herring and smokescreen thrown up by you. It was and is entirely irrelevant to my comments about Neil Godfrey.

          • AU says:

            The expert ISIS watchers regard it as likely genuine.

            LOL@”experts”. The ignorance of New Atheists when it comes to foreign affairs is truly astounding.

            Anyway, as I said, terrorist groups often jump on the bandwagon to claim responsibility of things they did not plan. The Taliban said they shot down the NATO helicopter in Afghanistan last month that actually crashed, it was a genuine statement from The Taliban, but it was obviously a lie and was part of appearing to be more powerful than they are. We all know that ISIS are about power – so there is a very real possibility that this statement is just them trying to claim credit for something that someone loosely affiliated with them did – you know, terror cells often work autonomously. So there is currently no evidence that suggests that the statement is from someone who planned the attack, none whatsoever. What happened was that SITE got the statement after monitoring an ISIS account, and the mainstream media has repeated it – with no one even asking for any evidence. The age of War On Terror, eh?

            But anyway, even if it is a genuine statement by the planner, it still doesn’t mean the attackers killed themselves because they believed in Paradise and wanted to go to Paradise. There are numerous examples of people killing themselves because for reasons that differ from the ultimate goal of the organisation they were part of.

            So, you cannot use the quote (of something that might not even be related to the attack) to say what the attacker were thinking. So, for Jerry and Heather to make the claims they’re making, they need to, according to what you have been saying, show QUOTES! This has been your mantra for the past day, that if we want to attribute something to you or Jerry, we need to show the QUOTE where you said that. Similarly, if Heather or Jerry want to attribute something to these attackers, they need to show the QUOTES where they said that. Consideing neither Heather or Jerry have done that – will you agree that neither Heather or Jerry Coyne abide by the basics of decency and intellectual integrity — if they want to attribute views to people (i.e. religion motivated the terrorists), then they should QUOTE the actual terrorists saying religion motivated them!

      • “They don’t care about a few tactical losses or dying, they are a martyrdom cult after all. ” — This line of mine was actually paraphrasing the works of the researchers like Scott Atran and co whom Harris dismisses on the spurious grounds of denying the role of religion.

  3. AU says:

    I think people read way too much into these things. Maybe if people realise that just like Brits are individuals who do not all think and act alike, just like French are individuals who do not all think and act alike, just like Democrats are individuals who do not all think and act alike, just like Republicans are individuals who do not all think and act alike, that ISIS too are individuals who do not all think and think alike, and that there are people who joined ISIS for different reasons, who … you guessed it, do not all think and act alike.

    Therefore, the group contains individuals who want to attack the West for different reasons. There is no proof that this attack was planned by the ISIS leadership, ISIS probably has lots of people who are working independently to attack targets in the West. This one came off – and Paris was chosen because it is one of the largest cities in Europe. Yet in the age of “Internet experts”, we have people sitting there trying to find all sorts of meaning.

    I do not agree that ISIS are a martyrdom cult – sure, there are members in ISIS who want martyrdom, but it has been shown that a lot of the ISIS leadership are former members of the Baath Party – I do not believe these guys want martyrdom. They are just tribal people who lost their power and hate the Shias for ethno-tribal reasons, and not religious reasons, and they hate the West for driving them out of power. I wouldn’t be surprised if these individuals didn’t even know of this planned attack.

    The most ridiculous thing I heard was that they attacked the targets because they hate freedom – this line has been peddled again and again by conservatives and New Atheists the past few days – it’s actually quite funny how both groups share simnilar beliefs on so many things despite New Atheists supposedly being liberal. (Maybe that’s why New Atheists like to call those of us who have spent our entire life on the Left as being The Rregressive Left). The stadium, restaurants, and theatre were allegedly chosen because these places allow people freedom to mix. Boris Johnshon and Merkel have been amongst those peddling this line.
    Oh well, I guess 9/11, London tube bombings and Madrid train bombings were chosen because they hate our freedoms and planes and trains give us the freedom to travel …

    • The “hating freedom” line is one I hear most from right-wing conservatives, not atheists, especially not New Atheists, and I agree it’s stupid. You are right to point out that people join for many reasons.

      The Baath party thing is an extremely important and significant part of this. The idea to ban all Baath party members from any and all government positions in post-war Iraq was one of the stupidest anyone ever came up with. It is one of the single biggest reasons for the strength and ability of DAESH. It was announced by US ambassador Paul Bremmer in (I think) 2004, but came from one of his advisors. I can’t remember his name, but I’ve got it all noted somewhere for when I come to write about this.

      I’ve written several times that there are multiple reasons people joined DAESH. One of the reasons I’ve noted most is that with the sectarianism of the Iraqi government, Sunni had nowhere else to turn. Kurds were treated badly by al-Maliki’s government too, but the new strength of Kurdistan following the defeat of Saddam meant they had political support. Sunnis had no-one.

      Also, those Sunni leaders within the provinces Anbar, Ninevah etc who stood up to DAESH were executed. For many it was a case of join DAESH or die.

      However, DAESH is run like a proper state. It has a military arm. It trains its soldiers. It selects who would be best for particular missions. It takes a certain mindset to be able to be a martyrdom bomber, and those best suited are selected. I’m not meaning to insult all Muslims who believe in Paradise by saying that. Like most people who believe in an afterlife, most are willing to wait until their god decides it’s time for them to join him. That’s how it should be imo. I understand that within Islam, some consider a person dedicated enough to be a martyrdom bomber worthy of admiration. A hero even. I do not, and I think this is a teaching that needs to be countered.

      I don’t think the targets were chosen because of “freedom to mix” and I doubt most readers of a site like mine think that. I consider it obvious they were chosen because they were soft targets – there were a lot of people in a small space and there was little security. There was security at the soccer stadium. It was a Muslim security officer who turned away the first bomber there, and he thus detonated outside. I’m sure he and his companion would have done so inside if they could have.

      I don’t know Johnson’s religious beliefs, but Merkel heads the Christian Democratic Union for goodness sake – she’s no atheist.

      I think one of the things that would significantly reduce the power of DAESH in Iraq is to sort out the political situation there. If Sunnis had fair representation in government and felt protected, they would not need to turn to DAESH. However, the DAESH hardcore leadership do have a martyrdom cult mentality, and they have made no secret of it. They declare their wish to bring about Mohammed’s eschatological predictions, and their willingness to die for the cause. That’s what the caliphate is all about.

      • AU says:

        However, DAESH is run like a proper state. It has a military arm. It trains its soldiers. It selects who would be best for particular missions. It takes a certain mindset to be able to be a martyrdom bomber, and those best suited are selected.

        I don’t think it is true. Almost all of the leaders of ISIS are former Baath party members. I do not think that secular people would suddenly become a martyrdom cult.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/the-hidden-hand-behind-the-islamic-state-militants-saddam-husseins/2015/04/04/aa97676c-cc32-11e4-8730-4f473416e759_story.html

        I am sure that certain members have found solace in radical Islam, and some well might be nihilistic, that doesn’t translate to “ISIS is a martyrdom cult”. The fact remains, we know very very little about the leadership of ISIS, and yet we have people sitting in their homes acting as if they are experts on ISIS and know what ISIS might or might not be thinking.

        And therein lies one of the major problems with our society, instead of people accepting that they have absolutely no frigging idea about something, we all want to sit there acting as if we are experts, and when we think we are experts on something (when we’re not), then it gives us the idea that the policies we advocate are well thought out and we stop researching and learning because we think we already “get it”.

        • I don’t consider myself an expert AU, I express my opinion based on the evidence I have seen. I always keep in mind I may be wrong, and am fully prepared to admit that where appropriate.

          Just because Hussein’s regime was a secular one, doesn’t mean that all members of the Baath Party were secular. Just like joining DAESH was a survival mechanism for many, so was joining the Baath Party, especially if you wanted a government position. That’s one of the reasons banning Baath Party members from any part in the new regime was a stupid idea – it disqualified many capable and experienced Sunni who would have been valuable to the country going forward who had only joined the party because they had no option.

          • AU says:

            I never said all members of the Baath party were secular – however, it is well known that the overwhelming majority of Sunnis in Iraq were not religious at all, even in their private lives.

            Exactly what evidence did you see that suggested that the bombers blew themselves up because they were religious? You argue that they must have beenr religious because only a very religious person would be selected for such an operation – there is no evidence to suggest that. If your theory was right, then very religious members would also be chosen to look after the Western hostages, however, as a former hostage himself said, the guys holding him captive didn’t even have the Koran and the discussions were political and not religious.

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-captors-didnt-even-have-the-koran-says-french-journalist-held-prisoner-by-group-for-more-than-10022291.html

            So there is no evidence to suggest that the people who ISIS chooses for important operations are religious – none whatsoever. However, you still come to the conclusion that it is almost certain that they were religious – with no evidence whatsoever. And the reason you come to this conclusion isn’t because you are a bigot or a dishonest person, it is because, as CJ Werleman says – and I don’t agree with everything he says – New Atheism is like an echo-chamber where the people feed off each other’s bigotry and it eventually ends up rubbing on others. This is how group polarization works, the group keeps hearing their own views, and they start moving to a more extreme position – so you will have someone who starts off from the position that terrorism is a complex issue and there can be many factors involved, who ends up with the position of trying to look at each terorist atrocity not from an objective viewpoint, but through the menatlity of “how can I blame this on religion”.

          • Have you read the statement put out by DAESH about why they did this?

          • AU says:

            Have you read the statement put out by DAESH about why they did this?

            What relevance does that have?

            Anyway, I am working on facts:

            Fact 1: We do not know if that statement from ISIS has been verified as being genuine – countless times al Qaeda and Taliban have released statements claiming things which were not really true.
            Fact 2: We know hardly anything about the bombers
            Fact 3: You do not have to be “religious” to be given these tasks
            Fact 4: People who are not religious can do suicide bombings – secular Arab nationalists like Fatah, Tamil Tigers, Kamikaze

            In light of the facts, for you to claim that you canm say that all of the suicide bombers were almost certainly believing they were going to Paradise is ridiculous.

            Now you might well be right, maybe they were. But the keywors is maybe. If you had said probably, I would still have let it go. However, you presented it as a near-certainty, when you have provided no evidence – now, the way things work is, if you are going to make a claim that something is near certain true, you have to have some good facts backing it up, but you don’t.

            Therefore, the most reasonable conclusion I can come to is that this is New Atheism brainwashing at work, because I think you’re a good person and I do not think you would deliberately try to mislead people.

        • Coel says:

          I am sure that certain members have found solace in radical Islam, and some well might be nihilistic …

          On the subject of weird things that ISIS get called, surely “nihilistic” is absurd. They might have values very different from our own, but they certainly have values and ideas that they regard highly, and are the very opposite of nihilistic.

          • AU says:

            No, what is absurd is people acting as if everyone in ISIS thinks and acts the same … and I think we all know why some people choose to behave in this absurd manner.

      • Night-Gaunt49 says:

        Daesh lands have shrunk 25% in the past year from ground action by Iraq and others against th Daesh death cult.
        ——————-
        *The more violence done to them, Daesh, the more help they will get. They are playing a role to get at both the giants to waste their time, energy, resources and blood awhile it aids their fledgling group through +”Managed Savagery”.*+
        —————
        I’m guessing that those responsible for the Paris attacks are sympathetic to ISIS. Also from *Stern & Berger:*

        *The ISIS propaganda machine is a calculated affair. It has five major goals, all of which involve an effort to simplify the complexity of the real world into a cartoonish battle between good and evil:*

        • To project an image of strength and victory.
        • To excite those with violent tendencies by pairing extreme violence with a moral justification in the form of its alleged utopian society.
        •To manipulate the perceptions of ordinary citizens in its enemies’ lands to incite demand for military action, while at the same time planting doubt that such action can succeed.
        • To place the blame for any conflict that does result on the aggression of Western governments and the incitement of “Zionists.”
        • To recast any military action against ISIS as an action against Muslims in general, specifically by highlighting civilian casualties.
        —–
        Study it, know it, remember it.
        ——
        The US has already been looking at the complex world in simple black hats and white hats. We see the damage done from that.

    • Ken says:

      Maybe that’s why New Atheists like to call those of us who have spent our entire life on the Left as being The Regressive Left

      I’ve spent my entire life on the left too. That’s not at all their definition of regressive left. The definition is for those on the left who, to their minds at least, do not accord the protection of individual rights, and particularly free speech, as high a priority as other social justice goals. The main recent example would be those who argue in favour of the current trend on college campuses to limit who is allowed speak publicly. The argument is that social justice goals cannot be achieved if free speech is compromised. I have rather a lot of sympathy with this.

      With regard to Islam, the regressive left would be those who seem so concerned with offending Muslim culture that they don’t speak out against the ill treatment of women and the limiting of their rights.

      • I’ve been on the left my whole life too. You’re right Ken about who I term the “regressive left.” It is those who call a right-wing conservative Christian who opposes same-sex marriage a bigot, but not a Muslim. It is those who say they want of freedom of speech, but do all they can to shut down the views of those they disagree with. It’s those who mentally allocate points to a person in deciding what they are allowed to say and its value. Ken, as a white male is in real trouble. I’m better because I’m a woman, disabled, and a sexual abuse survivor. (In the past, and still in some fora, those same things made my opinion less valuable to many.)

        Each person should be evaluated as an individual. We all have experiences that contribute to the person we are and what we have to say.

        • AU says:

          Being left wing means you defend those who are the most margianlised in society. Left wingers do not tolerate Muslims being bigoted towards gays – that is a myth. We speak out against homophobia, and we speak out against cnservative interpretations of Islam. However, we tend not to attack individual Muslims because Muslims are already so marginalised in the West and are attacked from all quarters. Therefore, if a Muslim cleric who is a campaigner against Zionism is against same-sex marriage, he will often not get attacked, because we want to work with him on fighting Zionism – however, if we are asked whether we agree with his views on homosexuality, we will condemn them.

          This is what being left wing is about – defending those who are the most vulnerable. It doesn’t mean we will give Islamic oppression a free pass, in fact, you will find that when amongst themselves, we often do discuss things like Islamic oppression.

          I find it amazing that you guys can sit there talking about free speech, when Jerry Coyne censors views which challenge him, and I mean, which take apart his logic, and you guys act as apologists for him.

          And then there is Richard Dawkins who pressurised UVM to withdraw their Honourary degree for Ben Stein:

          https://skepacabra.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/ben-stein-backs-out-of-uvm-commencement-address/

          Has Jerry Coyne written any articles about France banning criticism of Israel?

          https://theintercept.com/2015/10/27/criminalization-of-anti-israel-activism-escalates-this-time-in-the-land-of-the-charlie-hebdo-free-speech-march/

          What does that make Dawkins and Coyne, Regressive New Atheists?

          Now I am a free speech fanatic, so I am against all forms of censorship, but I bet most New Atheists are the type who say “We believe in freedom of speech but that is hate speech” – yeah, as if you get to decide what should or should not be hate speech.

          • I oppose France’s (and Germany’s) law against denying the Holocaust, which I have mentioned here before. Jerry has said the same on his website. His position appears to be basically the same as mine – that it is better to counter opinions that you disagree with than ban them.

            I disagree with BDS, but would not ban them. I consider they have every right to their opinion. Jerry has written of BDS at least twice that I recall. He strongly opposes them, but does not wish to see them banned either.

            Greenwald’s article is a gross exaggeration, and quite frankly I can’t be bothered arguing about it.

            Dawkin’s has every right to express his opinion just like everyone else. The piece you link to does not show that he pressured UVM. In fact, it doesn’t even say that they withdrew their honourary degree – it says he decided not to accept it.

            I do not attack individual Muslims either. I attack ideas and opinions I disagree with, whoever holds them. That person may or may not be a Muslim. I’m not sure I entirely agree with your characterization that being on the left is about “defending those who are the most vulnerable,” although that is certainly important. To me is more about equality and freedom for all.

          • Ken says:

            I find it amazing that you guys can sit there talking about free speech, when Jerry Coyne censors views which challenge him, and I mean, which take apart his logic, and you guys act as apologists for him.

            I for one criticised Coyne in the strongest terms, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. You seem to just want to squeeze anyone who identifies as NA into a stereotype that you can write off. That sucks.

          • I agree. I meant to respond to that comment as well, but forgot.

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            I find it amazing that you guys can sit there talking about free speech, when Jerry Coyne censors views which challenge him, and I mean, which take apart his logic, and you guys act as apologists for him.

            So you don’t understand the difference between free speech and someone moderating their own private space?

            but I bet most New Atheists are the type who say “We believe in freedom of speech but that is hate speech” – yeah, as if you get to decide what should or should not be hate speech.

            That statement is about as wrong as it’s possible to get. Your views on New Atheists are rather … um .. idiosyncratic.

          • AU says:

            So you don’t understand the difference between free speech and someone moderating their own private space?

            No, I do. It is New Atheists who are confused. No one from the Left has denied Ayaan free speech. No one has said she should be stopped from speaking her mind. So for New Atheists to say the Left are against free speech because they don’t want Ayaan to speak at campus is just stupid.

            The point is, the Left were accused of trying to stifle debate. This is exactly what Jerry does at his blog – he wants it to be an echo chamber, where serious criticisms of his articles are not allowed. If I wrote a blog, I’d be a lot more interested in opinions that crticised my article, so I could debate them – I wouldn’t want people who already hold similar views to me coming there and agreeing.

            I have posted numerous times at his blog in a very polite tone, where I disagree with him, exposing the flaw in his logic, and he hasn’t allowed the post through. The reasonable conclusion would be that this is probably because he doesn’t like opinions that challenge his bigoted views, and is therefore trying to stifle debate at this blog, but hey, what do I know, Jerry might just be a very sensitive soul who doesn’t like the “tone” of certain posts! 😉

          • AU says:

            I for one criticised Coyne in the strongest terms, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. You seem to just want to squeeze anyone who identifies as NA into a stereotype that you can write off. That sucks.

            I have consistently said not all New Atheists are alike.

            Yes, I should make that clear in all my posts. However, Heather, Jerry, and a lot of New Atheists treat radical Muslims as if they are all alike (you know, those poor souls, all blowing themselves up because they believed in Paradise awaiting them), so until they continue to do that, I will simply type “New Atheists” instead of “a lot of New Atheists” each time I criticise the behaviour of “a lot of New Atheists”.

          • AU says:

            Oh, BTW, I have spoken admirably about Heather allowing opinions of mine which are extremely critical of hers, so of course I do not think all New Atheists are alike. That said, I don’t really see Heather as a New Atheist as in someone who actually shares the goals of the movement, I see her as a good person who believes religion can cuase harm and this belief causes her to expose the harm it can cause whenever she sees it, and that’s good, I also think similarly, I think she’s just a perfect example of what group polarisation can do, and I expect that in the future, she will prolbably start speaking out against the bigotry of her fellow New Atheists.

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            This is exactly what Jerry does at his blog – he wants it to be an echo chamber, where serious criticisms of his articles are not allowed.

            Not true. I for one have posted many comments disagreeing at length with his views (e.g. on “free will”). He does, though, moderate for civility. As he says, he doesn’t want commenters saying to him, or to other commenters, things that would be inappropriate if they were guests in his living room.

            I have posted numerous times at his blog in a very polite tone, where I disagree with him, exposing the flaw in his logic, and he hasn’t allowed the post through

            Hmm, given the way you post here, I’d be rather surprised if that were an accurate report of the story!

            Also, as a data point, Neil Godfrey’s early comments about Coyne were full of sneers and comments about his “ankle deep thinking”, et cetera, so I’m not surprised Coyne doesn’t allow him to comment.

            Coyne is quite clear on his “living room” moderation policy, and that is entirely up to him on his website.

          • AU says:

            Not true. I for one have posted many comments disagreeing at length with his views

            You still don’t get it, do you?

            If you go to the racist website, Stormfront, they have a section where they allow criticisms – a whole section dedicated to it.

            However, once you start breaking down their misinformation on certain subjects, you get banned!

            The reason is, human beings don’t treat all subjects the same – they often have certain things which are more important to them. It is therefore perfectly consistent for someone to allow opposing views on one topic, but try to stifle opposing views on another.

            This is really obvious, I don’t even know why I am having to explain this.

            Furthermore, it is a lot more difficult censoring someone who is a regular and who usually agrees with you.

            Again, this is really obvious, I don’t even know why I am having to explain this.

            Hmm, given the way you post here, I’d be rather surprised if that were an accurate report of the story!

            I already debunked that in the other thread at Vridar.

            You could of course have asked people to see what the comments were that Coyne rejected, but we both know why you didn’t 😉

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            This is really obvious, I don’t even know why I am having to explain this.

            The reason you’re having to explain it is because your original claim was:

            “[Coyne] wants [his blog] to be an echo chamber, where serious criticisms of his articles are not allowed.”

            Now, I gather that you meant: “[Coyne] wants [his blog] to be an echo chamber, where serious criticisms of his articles on certain subjects are not allowed.”

            I replied to what you actually said. How was I to know you meant something different?

          • Night-Gaunt49 says:

            Religion can make a fine architechture to hang ideologies and turn them where ever you want. And acting from a defensive position also helps in the psychology of recruitment. When you “know” you have an after life it can motivate the true believers to do anything including self sacrifice for good or ill. For them it is a way of winning against the colossi that is the USA and Europe.

            Under dogs. And whatever atrocities they commit real or imagined is not taken as true or as part of the deal. The big powers certainly do.

            Free Speech doesn’t include private areas. The owners decide who can and cannot comment and how far such comments can go. A reality best learned early.

        • AU says:

          It seems very likely that Dawkins wrote to UVM trying to persuade then not to let Ben Stein speak.

          https://straightfromthesource.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/uvms-president-responds-to-questions-about-commencement-speaker-ben-stein/

          You say he is entitled to his views, well, then so are people on the Left entitled to their views that Ayaan should not be getting an Honourary degree.

          But why is it that when Dawkins is trying to presuade someone from not speaking, it’s ok, because Dawkins has “reason”, but when someone else tries to stop Ayaan from speaking, they can’t have “reasons”.

          In other words, New Atheists should be able to decree what reasons are legitimate and what are not.

          People didn’t campaign againsty Ayaan because she has spoken out against Islam, people campaigned against Ayaan because she has made some very inflammatory and bigoted statements. She is a close friend of Pamela Geller, who the SPLC have accused of indulging in hate speech. That is why people were against Ayaan speaking.

          You might think that Greenwald is making a gross exaggeration, but I see none – then again, people like Glenn and I are true free speech champions, and we don’t just give lip service when it suits us, so maybe our expectations are just higher.

          • That’s a misrepresentation of my position. It is not at all clear that Dawkins pressurized UVM, just that he expressed his objections, as did hundreds of others. UVM did not withdraw the awarding of the degree, Stein decided to decline it. I do not think Stein is a proper person to be awarded an honourary degree, but I do not think UVM should withdraw it once offered, especially when they are already well aware of his views. At the same time, he is not a person I would take the stage with. (Not that anyone would ever be asking me to speak or offering me an houourary degree of course.)

            This is not the same as the position of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In that case, those opposed to her views are equally allowed to speak out, and I’ve never said otherwise. What I objected to in that case was Brandeis’ hypocrisy in caving to the protestors. It has always been the university I had a problem with in that case, not the protestors, although I disagreed with the position of the protestors. My comments about that are mostly on Jerry’s site, as he did a couple of posts specifically about the issue.

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            You say he is entitled to his views, well, then so are people on the Left entitled to their views that Ayaan should not be getting an Honourary degree.

            Did anyone say that they are not entitled to their views?

            In other words, New Atheists should be able to decree what reasons are legitimate and what are not.

            You really are amazing in the views you attribute to New Atheists!

          • AU says:

            Dawkins didn’t just express his opinions, he wrote a personal email to the guy. We all know that when we write personally to someone, it can influence their decision.

            Ayaan and Brandeis was absolutely nothing to do with free speech. You can find out what the petition was over here:

            https://www.change.org/p/brandeis-university-administration-speak-out-against-honoring-ayaan-hirsi-ali-at-brandeis-2014-commencement

            Now, if there was a feminist who campaigned for women’s rights, had said things about blacks, like all blacks follow the black culture of violence, would you be happy for this person to receive an honourary degree ffrom your university?

            If there was a race-equality activist who campaigned for race equality, and he had said things like “all feminism is the same and we must defeat feminism”, would you be happy for this person to receive an honourary desgree from your university?

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            Yes, we’re aware of why some criticise Ayaan.

            Now, if there was a feminist who campaigned for women’s rights, had said things about blacks, like all blacks follow the black culture of violence, …

            Just on a general point about quoting. If you think that something Ayaan said disqualifies her, why not actually QUOTE it? Why go for analogies?

          • AU says:

            Just on a general point about quoting. If you think that something Ayaan said disqualifies her, why not actually QUOTE it? Why go for analogies?

            The petition states why she should be disqualified.

            Hypoethetical scenarios, as anyone who has studied Logic, Psychology or Philosophy will know, is a great way to explore how we really feel about something.

          • Coel says:

            Well AU, the things quoted in the petition are different from your “hypothetical”. You suggest:

            Now, if there was a feminist who campaigned for women’s rights, had said things about blacks, like all blacks follow the black culture of violence, …

            That is about *people*, about “blacks” and what black people do.

            Ayaan’s remarks were about Islam. They were not about “Muslims”, who are people, they are about “Islam”, which is an ideology. So your comparison is inappropriate.

            I’d see nothing wrong with my university giving Ayaan an honourary degree.

          • AU says:

            She is saying there is no difference between Islam and radical Islam and we are at war with Islam and Islam must be defeated.

            The overwhelming majority of people, especially liberals, will find that statement extremely inflammatory, the only people who seem to not have a problem with it are conservatives, Christians, and new Atheists.

          • Coel says:

            It might indeed be inflammatory. Indeed it was intended to be; it was a deliberate wake-up call. However, it is an attack on an ideology, not on people.

          • AU says:

            So is it ok for me to say that there is no differece between nationalism and far right nationalism, that we are at war with nationalism, and nationalism must be defeated?

            I mean, I don’t like nationalism, but Heather seems a proud nationalistic New Zealander, is it ok for me to suggest that Heather follows the same ideology as a far-right nationalist?

            Also, how do you know it was intended to be inflammatory and wasn’t just steeped in bigotry? I need quotes.

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            So is it ok for me to say that there is no differece between nationalism and far right nationalism, that we are at war with nationalism, and nationalism must be defeated?

            Why, sure it’s ok; it’s a free country.

          • Coel, I have never denied the role of religion in Islamic terrorism (that would be a simple contradiction in terms for a start) but have always argued for mulit-causal factors.

            I continue to disagree sharply with Harris, Dawkins and Coyne on the causes of Islamic terrorism and consider their arguments simplistic, contrary to research and counterproductive.

            We have sharply different views on where Islam (note “Islam”, not “Islamism”) as a religion sits in relation to the motivations of people who join ISIS and the place of Islam (not “Islamism”) in relation to their public displays of barbarity.

            Unless and until there is some move to try to understand another point of view as distinct from reacting to any perceived attack on Coyne/Harris or perceived misrepresentation of their views then we are wasting our time.

            The quotes of mine that you take as a change of view all of a sudden are actually paraphrases of what Scott Atran himself — the researcher Harris and Coyne dismiss as an apologist for terrorists — has written way back in “Talking With the Enemy”.

          • AU says:

            Yes, it is a free country.

            So if I made a statement in New Zealand that we are at war with nationalism, and if in New Zealand there happened to be a climate of anti-nationalism amongst some left-wing radicals, and if my inflammatory and factually incorrect statement caused certain people to have hatred towards people like Heather because they now identified Heather as following the same ideology as far-right nationalists, would you still be happy for me to receive an honourary degree?

  4. Coel says:

    … would you still be happy for me to receive an honourary degree?

    Well, I’m not sure that you’ve done anything to merit an honourary degree in the first place, but . . .

    Whenever someone tries to shut someone else up by saying their speech might cause “certain people to have hatred towards” others, then — unless that person actually had explicitly called for hatred against others, and that means hatred against **people**, not merely a repudiation of an *ideology* — then I usually discount their complaint.

    If, say, Noam Chomsky had called for the overthrow and “defeat” of capitalism, would that, in my eyes, disqualify him from an honourary degree? No it wouldn’t (even though I’d disagree with him).

    If, say, some notable had called for the overthrow and “defeat” of communism, would that, in my eyes, disqualify them from an honourary degree? No it wouldn’t.

    Universities should be about free thought and the clash of ideas. I’m happy for degrees and honourary degrees to go to people I disagree with.

    And, yes, I’d see no problem with my university awarding an honourary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    • AU says:

      Whenever someone tries to shut someone else up by saying their speech might cause “certain people to have hatred towards” others, then — unless that person actually had explicitly called for hatred against others, and that means hatred against **people**, not merely a repudiation of an *ideology* — then I usually discount their complaint.

      The petition wasn’t about shutting her up – I have no idea where you get that from. The petition was about her making statements such as there is no difference between Islam and radical Islam, saying we are at war with Islam, and that it must be defeated militarily.

      http://forward.com/opinion/196399/no-brandeis-isnt-silencing-ayaan-hirsi-ali/

      Your Chmosky analogy is weird – apples and oranges. A much more appropriate examples would be that if we were a Socialist country and we were at war with countries that were Capitalists, and some Capitalists were very radical and their Capitalism was very much based on greed and justifying violence to further their goals, and Chomsky said that there is no difference between Capitalism and this radical Capitalism, that we are at war with Capitalism, and we must defeat it militarily, then Chomsky would be talking rubbish, he would be putting the lives of Capitalists who are not radical in danger because some people would now consider there to be no difference between these Capitalists and the radical Capoitalists, and therefore, I would not want Chomsky to receive an Honourary degree.

      BTW, can you please provide a QUOTE where Ayaan said that her statement was meant to be inflammatory? I would like to see QUOTEs.

      • Coel says:

        AU,

        BTW, can you please provide a QUOTE where Ayaan said that her statement was meant to be inflammatory?

        I did not say that Ayaan had said her statement was meant to be inflammatory, I said that it was meant to be inflammatory. (Note the difference between the two.)

        My words were: “Indeed it was intended to be [inflammatory]; it was a deliberate wake-up call.”

        Now, “inflammatory” means “provocative”, “incendiary”, a call to action, a wake-up call.

        The fact that is was intended as such is obvious from the interview itself. E.g. (quoting Ayaan from it):

        “The Western mind-set … is delusional. The problem is not going to go away. Confront it, or it’s only going to get bigger.”

        “We have to get serious about this.”

        And about defeating Islam:

        “[we should defeat Islam] In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.”

        And:

        “… the West has been in denial for a long time. … Now we have some choices to make.”

        Can you seriously deny that she was being deliberately provocative and inflammatory?

        • AU says:

          I know the difference between the two. I am simply applying your own standard: I never said you said that you think Coyne cannot be unfairly censoring people. Yet you keep asking me to show you a quote of something you said when I didn’t even claim you said that – see the difference?

          I said:

          Your starting point that he is a good guy and therefore cannot be unfairly censoring people, instead of trying to establish the facts first, show that you are not intellectually honest, that you are biased, and therefore, you cannot be taken seriously when it comes to debating the works of Coyne.

          And this is based on evidence. The evidence is, if someone makes a claim against someone, you do not immediately start making excuses fot that person. You first investigate the claim. If I am a police officer, and someone says Alan kicked him, I will not immediately start giving possible excuses as to why Alan might have kicked him, I will immediately ask for more information.
          If someone comes to me and says Glenn Greenwald is censoring their comments, I will not immediately giving possible excuses as to why Glenn Greenwald is censoring comments – I will ask them for more information.

          You immediately started making excuses for Coyne without asking for any information. This is strong evidence, much stronger than your “Ayaan was being inflammatory as a wake up call” nonsense, that you either think Coyne could not have been unfairly censoring comments (and therefore you did not want to ask for further information as your conclusion was already formed), or either that you do know that Coyne could be unfairly censoring comments, but you cannot come to admit it because of your tribalism, and so you must make excuses. Either way, it shows that you cannot be taken seriously when debating the works of Coyne.

          • Coel says:

            AU,

            This is strong evidence … that you either think Coyne could not have been unfairly censoring comments … or either that you do know that Coyne could be unfairly censoring comments, …

            So you’re starting this again? Look, my original discussion with Neil Godfrey wasn’t about Coyne censoring comments! Really it wasn’t! I made no comment about it or about whether it was fair or unfair. All of this is a complete diversion on your part!

            My discussion with Godfrey wasn’t about censoring of comments on Coyne’s blog, it was about Godfrey’s criticism of New Atheists (Coyne, Dawkins, Harris) and who was or wasn’t committing logical fallacies.

            All of this is a diversion on your part to avoid admitting that Godfrey made criticisms of the NAs that clearly reveal fallacious thinking on his (Godfrey’s) part.

            Whether Coyne censors comments (he does) and whether that is fair or unfair (really, it’s his blog, it’s up to him) is entirely beside the point!

            All of this attributing to me attitudes about Coyne’s censorship is just you fantasizing!

  5. AU says:

    I know your discussion with Neil wasn’t on this. So why do I bring it up?

    First of all, at least we have now gone past your “show me a QUOTE where I said that”, and accusing me all sorts of things. Either you had difficulty reading what I wrote, or you were trying to deliberately obfuscate – that isn’t relevant, what is relevant is that I did not attribute something to you by claiming you said that, I attributed it to you based on evidence – much stronger evidence than the evidence you use to further your points.

    Secondly, it is VERY relevant. The evidence from this incidence
    strongly suggests you formed your conclusion which tried to put Coyne in a good light and tried to fit “evidence” around it. This is unscientific, the normal process is you look at the evidence and then form a conclusion.
    Therefore, there is strong evidence suggesting that you are more interested in defending Coyne than coming to the table with an open mind – this sort of tribalism is rampant in New Atheism.

    I did not follow the whole debate Neil had, but from everything I have seen, Neil hasn’t said that religion cannot play a part. You are just extremely intellectually dishonest, and you cherry-pick something someone has written in haste where they haven’t expressed themselves exactly as they want to and attack that.

    As an example, I first wrote that you were defending Coyne because you did not think he unfairly censors comments.
    I then wrote later that you were defending Coyne because you did not think he censors comments.
    Now considering you and I debated before on Coyne’s censorship, and considering you had made justifications on why Coyne censors comments, it is obvious to that I do not think that you think Coyne censors comments. It is obvious I know you know Coyne censors comments.
    However, you chose that second statement of mine and attacked it. This is intellectual dishonesty. You knew that I know that you know that Coyne censors comments, we had debated that at length, yet you deliberately chose the comment where I was typing in haste and wrote something wrong that contradiced what I had said earlier, and attacked that.

    And you do the exact same to Neil. Yes, there have been a couple of things Neil has said that haven’t been worded rightly, but these are in contradiction with other things he has said. You however choose to cherry-pick these misworded comments and then pretend that that is Neil’s position, even though those comments contradict other things Neil says. This is intellectual dishonesty.

    Whether Coyne censors comments (he does) and whether that is fair or unfair (really, it’s his blog, it’s up to him) is entirely beside the point!

    If Coyne is unfairly censoring comments, then that is a HUGE problem, because then the evidence suggests he is afraid of his audience hearing alternative viewpoints. In other words, he is interested in creating an echo-chamber, much like Stormfront do, where they have a comments section for opposing views but then start to censor comments and ban you once you start exposing them.

    We all here know that censoring comments unfairly is a HUGE issue, some of us just don’t want to address the possibility that Coyne might be unfairly censoring comments because then that shatters the myth that New Atheists have been brainwashed with that New Atheism is all about debating openly and rationally.

    • Coel says:

      AU,

      Yes, there have been a couple of things Neil has said that haven’t been worded rightly, but these are in contradiction with other things he has said.

      Ah good, there you acknowledge my two main points: (1) that, in the very act of accusing NAs of logical fallacies, Neil Godfrey committed logical fallacies himself, and (2) that his writings on this are inconsistent.

      That always has been my main point. And it’s not merely about Coyne, it was also about Dawkins and Harris.

      Now, if Godfrey wants to retract and restate those sentences, then fine, I, for one, will accept that. I’ve discussed this with him on his blog, and he’s had ample opportunities to restate those sentences, and has not chosen to do so.

      He is still (erronously as I see it) attributing fallacious thinking to NAs such as Coyne, Dawkins and Harris, while refusing to accept anything such in his writings (which even you now seem to accept is present).

      You are just extremely intellectually dishonest, and you cherry-pick something someone has written in haste where they haven’t expressed themselves exactly as they want to and attack that.

      I quoted a blog post by Godfrey. If he wrote that post “in haste” and now wants to restate it then fine, let him do so.

      … yet you deliberately chose the comment where I was typing in haste and wrote something wrong that contradiced what I had said earlier, and attacked that.

      I really love the way that you falsely accusing me (as you now accept) of telling a “lie” (your word) now becomes my fault and an example of *my* “intellectual dishonesty”!

  6. Cole and AU – you’ve both made your points and at this stage are mainly repeating yourselves.

    I’m happy to provide a space for open debate, and carry on if you feel you need to, but I think it’s got to the stage where this one’s going ’round in circles.

    I’d like to think there’ll be more opportunities for us to solve the world’s problems here in the future. 🙂

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