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The far-right and the new Atheists

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,254 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    That's what "infer" means, Nozz. And you're too much of a rationalist to argue against the validity of argument from inference. :)

    Depends on the context. Argument from inference in Science is a much different kettle than inferring positions people hold based on things they simply did not, and never have said.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    He raises the matter of the Fifth Amendment himself, Nozz.

    So what? He raises MANY things in that book and others without feeling the need to explicitly say anything positive about the thing he raised. I do the same myself many times too.

    Why act like raising something during discourse means you have to rush to laud praise on it lest you be taken as thinking the thing is a bad thing? The length of the book would likely double if that were a requirement in prose.

    Once again: He "raised" it to pre-empt the argument that an advanced technology for lie/truth detection would be problematic in light of the Fifth Amendment. That is all. There is no intellectually honest way to infer a value judgement OF that amendment from that. In fact the main point he seemed to be making there was that technology has already impinged into the purview of that amendment before so it is likely to be a poor argument against future technologies to try the same approach here.

    If you want to continue replying to what he did not say, other than what he did, then that is just your MO. It is not an MO I share. And being happy with your own inferences is not really informative. As I said my main agenda when summarising anything is that the summary is indicative of the actual content of the thing being summarised. A summary should service the reader of said summary by adumbrating some or all of the content they will actually find if they go looking for it.

    Nothing you wrote in the first post I replied to achieved that on the topic of the Fifth, Islam, Jews, or profiling. The re-write of your post I created however actually does. By all means find a person entirely ignorant of his work.... get said person to read both summaries..... then read his works.... and have them suggest which summary they found was the informative and accurate one.... and which one was the misleading strawman one. The reader of such summary will nowhere find.... for example.... Harris arguing that the Fifth is a bad thing, or presenting any kind of argument ending with a conclusion of the form "therefore it is a bad thing". Your summary is simply misleading and false. Simple as.


  • Registered Users Posts: 354 ✭✭ iffandonlyif


    The article seems to be aimed at readers for whom criticism of wokeness (they would put that in inverted commas) is automatically prejudiced in some way, with no further argument required. (An interesting case could be made about wokeness being the new American religion.)

    I’m always suspicious of articles that leave the heavy lifting to innumerable links that most people won’t click to.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,032 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    To be fair, Harris seems to advocate a number of positions that are generally considered to be right-wing - he has written in favour of ethnic profiling, for example; many people consider his attitude to Islam to be basically islamophobic; he considers the right to silence of a person accused of a crime to be religiously-grounded and therefore a Bad Thing; he has argued that Jews are responsible for their own persecution. A lot of his positions look to be pretty authoritarian and pretty nativist.

    I really object to the term islamphobic. If I am generous and run with the definition that it means means an irrational hatred of Muslims. But phobias are not an irrational hatred. It is turning the term on its head. Another big issue with the term is that it is very hard to to separate what is a rational hatred whether justified or not, and what is an irrational hatred. I understand that the term is trying to single unfair prejudice that Muslims sometimes face but it is a deeply inadequate term. The fact that there is no term like christianphobic or religionphobic, indicates how much ground has been ceded to intersectional ideas. Why not use a proper term like prejudice against Muslims.

    I really object to the line with in the article
    "We are at war with Islam." (Note: This was a dangerous and xenophobic lie
    . Many atheists are at war figuratively with religion. It is not xenophobic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,019 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    And there are many countries in the world where open atheism will land you in prison or cause the permanent separation of your head from your shoulders.

    Make our National Maternity Hospital Public and Secular

    #MakeNMHOurs

    Nuns Nuns Reverse Reverse!



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    I really object to the term islamphobic. If I am generous and run with the definition that it means means an irrational hatred of Muslims. But phobias are not an irrational hatred. It is turning the term on its head . . .
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but phobias are irrational hatreds. That is literally the definition of the word.
    The fact that there is no term like christianphobic or religionphobic, indicates how much ground has been ceded to intersectional ideas. Why not use a proper term like prejudice against Muslims.
    Christianophobia and theophobia are both recognised terms. If we don't use them as frequently, it's perhaps because hostility to Christianity or to religion doesn't tend to get turned into, or invoked to justify, political programmes which victimise ethnic and cultural minorities quite so frequently as hostility to Islam does.
    I really object to the line with in the article . Many atheists are at war figuratively with religion. It is not xenophobic.
    To be fair, when Harris used the line "we are at war with Islam", he wasn't talking about a figurative war. He was talking about the invasion of Iraq.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,032 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but phobias are irrational hatreds. That is literally the definition of the word.
    I haven't checked the etymology but from what I have heard irrational hatreds is a new definition. The original meaning is fear. Fear of spiders, fear of small spaces, fear of social interactions etc. These are fundamentally different in nature to prejudice to gay, Muslims or trans people. Then again, a lot of accepted terms don't make sense. Anti Semitism is a great example given that Muslims are Semites, just like Jews. Terms like homophobia, islamophobia should be replaced.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Christianophobia and theophobia are both recognised terms. If we don't use them as frequently, it's perhaps because hostility to Christianity or to religion doesn't tend to get turned into, or invoked to justify, political programmes which victimise ethnic and cultural minorities quite so frequently as hostility to Islam does.
    They are very niche. I have never seen them used and other words are used in Ireland in articles about prejudice to Christians etc.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    religion doesn't tend to get turned into, or invoked to justify, political programmes which victimise ethnic and cultural minorities quite so frequently as hostility to Islam does.
    Yes it does. Absolutely does. Religion broadly and Christianity are just as common persecuted as Islam. If you add in other faiths such Jews, Yazidis and Mandaeans, Islam might be the least persecuted religion.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    To be fair, when Harris used the line "we are at war with Islam", he wasn't talking about a figurative war. He was talking about the invasion of Iraq.
    Right. I am not an expert of Sam Harris so I would have to check this out. From I see, he seems unfairly biased against religion but I don't think he a bigot towards religion or Muslims.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    The Greek word phobos means fear or aversion, but phobia in English has always meant and irrational, extreme or uncontrollable aversion. Lots of people have a distaste for spiders, but an arachnaphobe suffers fear, distress and repulsion, and experiences paralysis or takes evasive action, out of all proportion to any danger actually presented by a spider.

    So, disagreeing with the tenets of Islam, or arguing that they are harmful, doesn't make you an Islamophobe. (This is the generic "you", please understand; not you, Yellow Fern.) But if you argue that, because some people practice terrorism in the name of Islam, Islam is a characteristically terrorist religion, I think that does point to Islamophobia. Muslims are far, far more likely to be the victims of terrorism than to be its perpetrators, and the vast majority of Muslims, far from practising terrorism, condemn it, and do so in the name of Islam. So, to argue that Islam is a terroristic religion, you'd have to attach considerable weight to evidence supporting that view while ignoring the much greater weight of the evidence contradicting it. That's irrational, and I think would suggest that your position is driven by, and is feeding, your anxiety. And the conclusion would be underlined if you take the opposite position in relation to, e.g., those who perpetrate violence in the name of "democracy" or "freedom"; if you don't think that makes democracy or freedom characteristically violent ideologies, why would it do so for Islam?

    So, yeah, the key to phobia is irrationality, extremism, disproportion.

    Of course I agree that there are plenty of examples of religions other than Islam being persecuted. If you want to ascribe that to Christianophobia or theophobia, go ahead; be my guest. You may well be right.

    Feel free to check out the claim that Harris's "war with Islam" quote refers to the war in Iraq. The article quoted earlier in this thread which contains the quote also contains a link which - via a couple of intermediate links - will take you to the Harris piece from which the quote is taken.

    If, as you concede, you're "not an expert" on Sam Harris, it might be wise to suspend judgment on whether he is, or is not, bigoted against Islam. The only way to come to a reliable view about this is to read what he has written and make your own judgment about it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,032 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The Greek word phobos means fear or aversion, but phobia in English has always meant and irrational, extreme or uncontrollable aversion. Lots of people have a distaste for spiders, but an arachnaphobe suffers fear, distress and repulsion, and experiences paralysis or takes evasive action, out of all proportion to any danger actually presented by a spider.

    So, disagreeing with the tenets of Islam, or arguing that they are harmful, doesn't make you an Islamophobe. (This is the generic "you", please understand; not you, Yellow Fern.) But if you argue that, because some people practice terrorism in the name of Islam, Islam is a characteristically terrorist religion, I think that does point to Islamophobia. Muslims are far, far more likely to be the victims of terrorism than to be its perpetrators, and the vast majority of Muslims, far from practising terrorism, condemn it, and do so in the name of Islam. So, to argue that Islam is a terroristic religion, you'd have to attach considerable weight to evidence supporting that view while ignoring the much greater weight of the evidence contradicting it. That's irrational, and I think would suggest that your position is driven by, and is feeding, your anxiety. And the conclusion would be underlined if you take the opposite position in relation to, e.g., those who perpetrate violence in the name of "democracy" or "freedom"; if you don't think that makes democracy or freedom characteristically violent ideologies, why would it do so for Islam?
    In Europe and Africa this is not true. In Europe for every right wing terrorist arrested, there are bout 20 Jihadist arrested. That is Europol figure.
    In terms of absolute numbers it is probably true in the Middle East are muslims are targeted but the vast majority of violence against Muslims is caused by other Muslims from the same and from other dominations of islam. That doesn't lessen its damage but it is not motivated by islamphobia as such. There is persecutions of Muslims in China and Africa but in both regions all religions are being targeted. I would argue that you need to look at the likelihood of being in an attack as well as total numbers. In that metric, even in the Middle East, other religions are vastly worse hit.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    in English has always meant and irrational, extreme or uncontrollable aversion.
    But bigots towards trans, Muslims and gays dont have an uncontrollable aversion. Its more akin to racism, than fear of spiders. What China is doing to muslins is horrific. But I am not sure it is irrational. Wiping out Uyghurs as a distinct group is evil but is pretty rational from the point of view of their government.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    In Europe and Africa this is not true. In Europe for every right wing terrorist arrested, there are bout 20 Jihadist arrested. That is Europol figure.
    In terms of absolute numbers it is probably true in the Middle East are muslims are targeted but the vast majority of violence against Muslims is caused by other Muslims from the same and from other dominations of islam. That doesn't lessen its damage but it is not motivated by islamphobia as such. There is persecutions of Muslims in China and Africa but in both regions all religions are being targeted. I would argue that you need to look at the likelihood of being in an attack as well as total numbers. In that metric, even in the Middle East, other religions are vastly worse hit.
    I'm not sure what point you're making here. Are there people perpetrating terrorism in the name of Islam? Certainly. Does this make Islam a terrorist ideology? If you answer "yes" to that question but but "no" to the same question when applied to other ideologies in whose name terrorism is perpetrated then you're not being rational, and it's the irrationality that leads people to see your feelings about Islam as phobic.
    But bigots towards trans, Muslims and gays dont have an uncontrollable aversion. Its more akin to racism, than fear of spiders. What China is doing to muslins is horrific. But I am not sure it is irrational. Wiping out Uyghurs as a distinct group is evil but is pretty rational from the point of view of their government.
    Well, wiping out the Jews was evil but pretty rational from the point of view of the Nazi government of Germany — they could give you extensive reasons as to why it was a necessary war aim, and why it was essential to divert military resources from the Russian front to rounding up, transporting and destroying Jews. But we don't hesitate to characterise their attempts to do that as antisemitism. And we'd say that, objectively speaking, it was wholly irrational; it was only "rational" from the point of view of a person reasoning from starting precepts that no person acting rationally would accept.

    (And, yes, "judeophobia" is a recognised alternative term for antisemitism. Antisemetism is of course the more popular term, but "judeophobia" is sometimes sometimes used - notably, when people want to draw comparisons or contrasts with Islamophobia.)

    If all we're doing is arguing about the correct use of the term "Islamophobia" I'll happy concede that Islamophobia isn't a clinically-recognized anxiety disorder like, say, agoraphobia. (In a particular case it could of course be a manifestation of a clinical anxiety disorder, but it is usually isn't.)

    But in English as she is spoke the "-phobia" suffix doesn't just refer to clinical anxiety disorders diagnosed by psychologists. It has several senses, a common one being the antonym of "-philia". An Anglophile likes and admires English people, the English nation, English culture; an Anglophobe dislikes, fears and disdains these things. In both cases the sentiment is fuelled more by emotion than by reason, though rationalisations may be employed to justify it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,032 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I'm not sure what point you're making here. Are there people perpetrating terrorism in the name of Islam? Certainly. Does this make Islam a terrorist ideology? If you answer "yes" to that question but but "no" to the same question when applied to other ideologies in whose name terrorism is perpetrated then you're not being rational, and it's the irrationality that leads people to see your feelings about Islam as phobic.
    I didnt say islam is a terrorist ideaology, You were claiming that islamophobia is a common word relative to christianphobia as the phenomenon is far more common relative to prejudice against other religions but that isnt remotely true as my Europol data shows.

    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Well, wiping out the Jews was evil but pretty rational from the point of view of the Nazi government of Germany[/b] — they could give you extensive reasons as to why it was a necessary war aim, and why it was essential to divert military resources from the Russian front to rounding up, transporting and destroying Jews. But we don't hesitate to characterise their attempts to do that as antisemitism. And we'd say that, objectively speaking, it was wholly irrational; it was only "rational" from the point of view of a person reasoning from starting precepts that no person acting rationally would accept.

    (And, yes, "judeophobia" is a recognised alternative term for antisemitism. Antisemetism is of course the more popular term, but "judeophobia" is sometimes sometimes used - notably, when people want to draw comparisons or contrasts with Islamophobia.)

    If all we're doing is arguing about the correct use of the term "Islamophobia" I'll happy concede that Islamophobia isn't a clinically-recognized anxiety disorder like, say, agoraphobia. (In a particular case it could of course be a manifestation of a clinical anxiety disorder, but it is usually isn't.)

    But in English as she is spoke the "-phobia" suffix doesn't just refer to clinical anxiety disorders diagnosed by psychologists. It has several senses, a common one being the antonym of "-philia". An Anglophile likes and admires English people, the English nation, English culture; an Anglophobe dislikes, fears and disdains these things. In both cases the sentiment is fuelled more by emotion than by reason, though rationalisations may be employed to justify it.
    Exactly, hence we shouldn't use the term phobia here either.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,305 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Exactly, hence we shouldn't use the term phobia here either.

    I think phobia is entirely the correct term here, as in an irrational hatred, similar in usage to homophobia and transphobia.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,008 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    smacl wrote: »
    I think phobia is entirely the correct term here, as in an irrational hatred, similar in usage to homophobia and transphobia.

    Yes, we've been on this not-very-merry-go-round before with all these terms.
    Arguments against using 'phobia' tend to boil down to " not afraid/hate them, just don't like/trust them" - so you have an aversion then...


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 29,070 CMod ✭✭✭✭ ancapailldorcha


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    Yes, we've been on this not-very-merry-go-round before with all these terms.
    Arguments against using 'phobia' tend to boil down to " not afraid/hate them, just don't like/trust them" - so you have an aversion then...

    Words get appropriated all the time with the result being that their meanings change. I still cringe when I see people here using "liberal" in the US sense.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,032 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    Just to bolster my point, about terrorism, it was just published today that 18 people in Ireland were arrested in 2020 for Jihadism. I am still all ears for info on this epidemic of anti Muslim terrorism I was told about.
    Words get appropriated all the time with the result being that their meanings change. I still cringe when I see people here using "liberal" in the US sense.

    There is no US sense of the word liberal. That second meaning of the term was always present here in Ireland. Look at the lib dems who were an important party in 19th cen Ireland or the PDs more recently i.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,237 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    There is no US sense of the word liberal.
    Liberal? Are we talking about the same thing?

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-10658070


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 29,070 CMod ✭✭✭✭ ancapailldorcha


    There is no US sense of the word liberal. That second meaning of the term was always present here in Ireland. Look at the lib dems who were an important party in 19th cen Ireland or the PDs more recently i.

    Of course there is. There, it's a catch-all for anyone who's a centrist or to the left of that. In France, it describes rabid free-marketeers while here in the UK, it alludes to a long tradition of individual liberty dating from the English Civil War of the mid-seventeenth century.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    I didnt say islam is a terrorist ideaology . . .
    I know. I have emphasised more than once that I am not accusing you of holding these views, Yellow Fern.
    You were claiming that islamophobia is a common word relative to christianphobia as the phenomenon is far more common relative to prejudice against other religions but that isnt remotely true as my Europol data shows.
    Your Europol data is about arrests for terrorism, not about attitudes to Islam.
    Exactly, hence we shouldn't use the term phobia here either.
    Semantic arguments about the "correct" use of a word are boring and, ultimately, pointless. What matters are how words are in fact used. "-Phobia" is widely used in this sense, and has been for a long time. You're under no obligation to use it yourself; feel free to use a different term to describe the same thing. But don't waste your time telling other people that they shouldn't use the word; you'd be pissing into the wind.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,032 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I know. I have emphasised more than once that I am not accusing you of holding these views, Yellow Fern.


    Your Europol data is about arrests for terrorism, not about attitudes to Islam.


    Semantic arguments about the "correct" use of a word are boring and, ultimately, pointless. What matters are how words are in fact used. "-Phobia" is widely used in this sense, and has been for a long time. You're under no obligation to use it yourself; feel free to use a different term to describe the same thing. But don't waste your time telling other people that they shouldn't use the word; you'd be pissing into the wind.

    No you made the claim on victims not attitudes
    Muslims are far, far more likely to be the victims of terrorism than to be its perpetrators, and the vast majority of Muslims, far from practising terrorism, condemn it, and do so in the name of Islam
    . As Europol data shows, the first part of your statement is untrue. There are not polls on altitudes to jihadism amongst Irish Muslims, so the second part of your statement doesn't hold either, but the data from European neighbours on the level of support is alarming. So I would think Sam Harris's views, at least on the surface, seem to be reasonable.

    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I know. I have emphasised more than once that I am not accusing you of holding these views, Yellow Fern.


    Your Europol data is about arrests for terrorism, not about attitudes to Islam.


    Semantic arguments about the "correct" use of a word are boring and, ultimately, pointless. What matters are how words are in fact used. "-Phobia" is widely used in this sense, and has been for a long time. You're under no obligation to use it yourself; feel free to use a different term to describe the same thing. But don't waste your time telling other people that they shouldn't use the word; you'd be pissing into the wind.
    maybe so but we do live in the age of word policing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,019 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    No you made the claim on victims not attitudes. As Europol data shows, the first part of your statement is untrue.

    You might tell us the relevance of Europol data in relation to violence against muslims in, for example, the Middle East....?

    Make our National Maternity Hospital Public and Secular

    #MakeNMHOurs

    Nuns Nuns Reverse Reverse!



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    How in God's name does the Europol data does show that my assertion is untrue? My assertion was that far more Muslims are the victims of terrorism than are its perpetrators, and far more Muslims condemn terrorism than support it. The Europol data doesn't address this at all.


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