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11:14 AM on 04/29/2013
This is the 3rd or 4th attack on Dawkins and the so called 'Four Horsemen' all of them attacked Dawkins and the other but Sam Harris in particular about their stance on Islam. None of the attacks had any foundation, however all of them strongly dislike the attack on Islam for being a religion of violence. Plainly speaking Islam is a fairly violent and quite misogynistic religion. Although the vast majority of Muslims are moderate there is a hardcore of fundamentalists who carry out attacks around the world in the name of Islam. The moderates hardly ever raise a voice in public to condemn them, which to me seeks to be offer a sort of silent complicity. Many Muslims perhaps agree with the attacks but do not want to seem to do so in public. Islam is also a religion of extremes and it stifles free speech in most of the countries it holds sway, No one can criticize Islam without fear of harm from the government or extremists. Look at the recent case of the anti Muslim bloggers in Bangla Desh. Arrested and severely beaten by the police.
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Lynda Zahm
I am my brother's keeper.
11:01 AM on 04/29/2013
Ignorance is a choice, spreading it is inexcusable, being proud of your ignorance is a complete travesty. Dawkins has done all three. There can be no respect for him as a person at all.
09:05 PM on 04/29/2013
So you paint the Professor in the same light that you live?
09:46 AM on 04/29/2013
"Why then do we so readily use the label Islamic/Muslim terrorist simply because they originate from Muslim-majority lands?"
Thats not why they are labeled Islamic/Muslim. They are labeled such because that is what THEY claim as their motivation. Nazi's never claimed to be acting on behalf of the West. We do however label them German, because that is what they claimed to be. The author's problem is not with the West' labels but with al-Qaida's.
08:07 AM on 04/29/2013
"Why then do we so readily use the label Islamic/Muslim terrorist simply because they originate from Muslim-majority lands?" The issue is not where they come from. The issue is how to morally justify violence. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are all religions that people have used to justify violence. It is in this sense that one could paraphrase Vonnegut by saying "What an ugly religion every religion is."
10:42 AM on 04/29/2013
Correction... they attempt to justify violence through religion. The fact is, violence is actually denounced in all 3 of these faiths.
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bholly72
10:59 AM on 04/29/2013
Well, in all three, sometimes violence is denounced and sometimes it's approved. The Bible, for instance, has numerous passages in which genocide is actually commanded by God. Numbers 30, for example.
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Lynda Zahm
I am my brother's keeper.
11:03 AM on 04/29/2013
But you have to be educated to this fact AND be willing to accept it. It's easier to hate a common enemy. A sickness that is spread by people like Dawkins.
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Dean J Smith
Trying to be rational
10:46 AM on 04/29/2013
Hm. But they seem to come from countries with a political beef with their targets. OBL had a long list of grievances and they were mostly political, like the USA's military support of the House of Saud. All of the Abrahamic religions can be pressed into service of justifying violence, and most of the rest of them, too.
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MonkeyDaddy
Agent of Evolution
06:39 AM on 04/29/2013
Dawkins is a brilliant ass, but an ass nonetheless. Atheism doesn't need to be shrill and disdainful to defend itself.
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10:42 AM on 04/29/2013
Who is defending atheism? We're attacking disgusting, anti-human sentiment. If you don't think there's a need to be heated about that, then you don't know what it is to be a compassionate person, who fights for the rights of others.
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MonkeyDaddy
Agent of Evolution
10:50 AM on 04/29/2013
I called him an ass and attacked his misguided defense of his offensive beliefs. BTW, thanks for accusing me of lacking compassion when you have no idea what kind of person I am or what I do.
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Ali A. Rizvi
02:59 AM on 04/29/2013
Targeting people makes one racist. Targeting ideas doesn't. Criticizing Islam and criticizing Muslims are two different things. Saying "smoking is bad" doesn't automatically translate to "all smokers are bad people."

If someone says, "Capitalism is the source of all evil..." -- is that person "racist" against capitalists? Come on. People have rights. Ideas, books, and religions don't.

Finally, Islam isn't a race. No one is born pre-circumcised or with a hijab sewn to their heads.

When people fend off legitimate criticism of their belief system by labeling the critic a "racist" or a "bigot" -- it's an indication that they cannot come up with a substantive counterargument.
06:13 AM on 04/29/2013
You don't find it incredibly troubling that Sam Harris proposed dropping a nuclear bomb on Muslims?
08:14 AM on 04/29/2013
I don't find it troubling, because he didn't.
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Ali A. Rizvi
09:56 AM on 04/29/2013
He didn't. He was describing a hypothetical case in which "a hostile regime that is *avowedly suicidal* acquires long-range nuclear weaponry i.e. they can hit distant targets like Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, etc." and that we know an attack is definitively coming. Muslim or not, the way any country would react to such threat is obvious. In a lot of Harris' writings, he does these little hypothetical thought/brain exercises. These are usually only comprehensible in their correct context by those who actually possess these assets.

He concludes the scenario by saying, "All of this is perfectly insane, of course: I have just described a plausible scenario in which much of the world’s population could be annihilated on account of religious ideas that belong on the same shelf with Batman, the philosopher’s stone, and unicorns." Hence the point.

I don't agree, by the way, with everything Harris or Dawkins say. I don't believe them to be infallible the way Muslims (the community I was brought up in) believe Muhammad or the Quran to be. But the nuclear bomb accusation is demonstrably false, as can be seen by anyone who is actually able to research and think for themselves.
12:05 PM on 04/29/2013
Well put. If a group of people who share an idea that is objectionable, it doesn't become racist if that group of people happen to be predominantly of a particular race.
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realitytrumpsbull
Two 'alves of coconut!
02:44 AM on 04/29/2013
There's a lot of people out there these days in both Europe and the US, with probably at least a marked distrust of people of Arab descent. Why? Guilt by association, there's been several decades worth of Bad Stuff happening and frictions both economic and political, as well as social, as a result.

 The East/West Islam/Christian-thing is probably fodder for multiple books, multi-volume sets, even, and the differences in culture and philosophy can be discouraging in depth and scope. But, if we're going to get along, we need to try and learn about each other. But, who REALLY wants to do the reading? Some people would just as soon that the westerners stay west, and the easterners stay east, and kind of keep it that way. Is that possible, reasonable, feasible, in the 21st century? Well...no. Different peoples have wandered the globe since developing the capability of doing so, and in the course of that they've left a trail of experience and children and in some cases, death and carnage, and it's all stuff that's impacted regional and national cultures over time. There's some of this in that, some of that in this, and the purists don't like it, but there it is. 
Can we all get along? This 21st century will likely prove a test of our mutual acceptance and tolerance, as transportation and communications media expand and improve, connecting places and parts of the world once far removed from each other, and making transit and communications commonplace. Plus, the world population is increasing by 100M/yr, roughly. So, we need to try and be on our best behavior, and not let hell-raisers @#$@ it up for everybody else. Peace.
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RedDogBear
11:23 AM on 04/29/2013
One of the most ironic things about this divide IMO is that the US bears a great deal of responsibility for the current predominance of Islamic fundamentalism in the Arab world. During the cold war the US saw Islam as a firewall against "Godless communism". At the same time that they encouraged tyrants to torture and murder advocates of secularism and socialism (which tended to go hand in hand with nationalism and a desire for each nation to control its own oil) they also encouraged support for Islamic fundamentalist movements.

So when you look at the Islamic brotherhood they got a significant amount of their "seed money" from the CIA and people supported by them. The same for Al Queda and many other groups. Then a few decades later the people in the west look at the Arab world and tsk-tsk at how backward those people are in their embrace of misogynistic fundamentalism.