Friday, November 5

Typical liberal "logic"

Do you ever notice how some people change the facts depending on the situation?

Here's an example.  Certain people tend to dislike racial profiling (I'll call them liberals, and I'll later explain why that's one of the better descriptions to use).

In the case of Muslims, liberals tend to make a claim that goes something like this: Not all Muslims are terrorists, so Muslims shouldn't be singled out for racial profiling of terrorists.  In the case of Muslims, large percentages of them are more religious than non-Muslims, and hence they likely tend to become influenced by their religion, which is, of course, an environmental influence.  The Koran has both negative and positive verses in its text.  Some text directly advocates peace, some text directly advocates violence.

Liberals tend to downplay the environment influence of the Koran on Muslims, and don't advocate profiling, even though profiling is rational when you consider that the violence in the Koran would influence a small proportion of Muslims to become violent, and when you consider that almost all terrorists are Muslims (you may counter by saying that the peaceful sections of the Koran would counterbalance this, but they wouldn't, really, because most Muslims are by nature peaceful, and hence would've tended to be peaceful regardless of whether the text told them to be).

Then you have another scenario.  When it comes to talk of behavioural differences between groups, liberals tend to do a complete 180, and suddenly take the position that the environment is the main influence, not genes.

Well, you can't have it both ways (assuming the environmental impacts in the two situations being compared would both be significant enough to either affect or not affect behaviour).

Either the environment is a factor, or it isn't!

So, when I hear these contradictory arguments coming from the same groups of people, I tend to think that they actually don't believe what they are saying, because they tend to contradict themselves!

It seems that their main purpose is to advocate the argument that they prefer, depending on the context, and to hell with logic.

What could be motivating liberals to contradict themselves?

Looking at both examples I gave, what's a common denominator that could account for why they contradict themselves?  I'll let you try to figure that out.  I have an idea; I'd like to hear responses.

Now, conservatives can certainly also contradict themselves.  But in regard to this example, and in general, I believe that the tendency occurs much more often among liberals.

My preferred descriptor was not "liberals", because that can get people on the defensive.  However, I didn't think that a more accurate term was useful either.

The most accurate term may be to call such contradictory people “irrational”.  But then my argument would have sounded funny.

I would have been saying: Irrational people believe the environment is not a main factor in one scenario, then they contradict themselves and say that in a similar scenario the environment is a main factor.

And some readers may have then said to me: So what? That's not surprising...they are irrational, it’s to be expected that they contradict themselves!  What's your point?

So, you can see why I felt the need to describe these people as liberals. But I’m open to suggestions from readers who can provide me with a less inflammatory description that would still get my point across.

If readers can think of any situations in which conservatives typically contradict themselves, let me know!

55 comments:

  1. "In the case of Muslims, liberals tend to make a claim that goes something like this: Not all Muslims are terrorists, so Muslims shouldn't be singled out for racial profiling of terrorists."

    False. Racial profiling is wrong because it is a form of discrimination based on race. In America, we believe that people should be judged on their character and actions, rather than the racial group that they belong to. Everyone gets a chance no matter what color skin they're born with.

    "In the case of Muslims, large percentages of them are more religious than non-Muslims, and hence they likely tend to become influenced by their religion, which is, of course, an environmental influence."

    First, Muslims are by definition more religious than non-Muslims because 'Muslim' is a religious group. You've effectively said nothing. Second, religion is a cultural influence, not an environmental one.

    "The Koran has both negative and positive verses in its text. Some text directly advocate peace, some text directly advocate violence."

    So does the Bible. So does Dionetics. So does "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    "...even though profiling is rational when you consider that the violence in the Koran would influence a small proportion of Muslims to become violent, and when you consider that almost all terrorists are Muslims"

    Profiling is never rational. It is a form a racism, and when perpetrated by the government, it is unconstitutional.

    "Then you have another scenario. When it comes to talk of behavioural differences between groups, liberals tend to do a complete 180, and suddenly take the position that the environment IS the main influence, not genes.

    Well, you can't have it both ways (assuming the environmental impacts in the two situations being compared would both be significant enough to either affect or not affect behaviour)."

    Huh? You forgot to give us an example. I have no idea what you're talking about.

    "Looking at both examples I gave, what's a common denominator that could account for why they contradict themselves? I'll let you try to figure that out. I have an idea; I'd like to hear responses."

    You have failed to demonstrate how "liberals" contradict themselves.

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  2. The point of the article is this:

    “liberals tend to downplay the environment influence of the Koran on Muslims, “ and

    “When it comes to talk of behavioural differences between groups, liberals tend to do a complete 180, and suddenly take the position that the environment IS the main influence, not genes."

    They dismiss the role of the environment when it suits their needs, yet they highlight the environment's role when it suit their needs. They don't look at logic as the determining factor.

    You mentioned that you didn't understand this. Instead, you confront views about other unrelated concerns. Let's address them anyway.

    You write:

    "False. Racial profiling is wrong because it is a form of discrimination based on race. In America, we believe that people should be judged on their character and actions, rather than the racial group that they belong to. Everyone gets a chance no matter what color skin they're born with. "

    When catching terrorists, it is actually impossible for it to be incorrect to discriminate based on racial profiling. That’s because discrimination means:

    “to note or observe a difference; distinguish accurately: to discriminate between things.”
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/discriminate

    Either Muslims are, or aren't, more likely to be terrorists. Therefore, if you were going to pay closer attention to just one group in society when searching for terrorists, you'd have to pay attention to them, if you want to catch the most numbers of terrorists.

    To say otherwise is equivalent to saying "I want to date a blond girl, let's ignore looking where blonds tend to live, let's look in Africa instead".

    You mention people being judged by their character and their actions. But when you are searching for a terrorist, you don't KNOW who the terrorists are already, otherwise you wouldn't need to search.

    Therefore, you need information that is correlated with terrorism. One factor is their actions. You look for typical terrorists signals. Another factor is their religion (and to a certain degree, race). You look among the religions correlated with terrorism.

    To do otherwise means you want to be illogical and don't care enough about catching terrorists.

    It's got nothing to do with people getting a chance no matter what skin color they are born with. All people that are born have the chance to avoid being a terrorist. But you don’t mention that.

    You claim that religion is a cultural influence, not environmental. Culture actually is the most influential environmental input. It’s everything around you. Any influence outside of genes.

    You claim that:

    "First, Muslims are by definition more religious than non-Muslims because 'Muslim' is a religious group"

    You are false. Non Muslims can be religious too: Catholic, Protestant, Sikh, etc.

    You mention that the Bible also has violent verses. I agree. What's your point? That does not mean a Christian is as likely to blow themselves up in the hopes of going to heaven to get 72 virgins.

    It as actually impossible for profiling to be racist. It says nothing about the profiler likes or dislikes a certain race. It only tells you something about the information at hand: the profile: that they are more likely to be terrorists.

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  3. Remarks made by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Wright and Obama ( on his white grandmother )were profiling. Obviously these comments were made due to their own experiences. Every race and culture has it's preferences. Discrimination/profiling is a natural human instinct based in self preservation. We would NOT BE HERE with out it. To ignore it is to commit suicide. I leave the rest to facts and reason.

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  4. As a self-proclaimed liberal, I don't take offense to your use of that term, although I do think you erected a straw man to create this contradiction.

    "When it comes to talk of behavioural differences between groups, liberals tend to do a complete 180, and suddenly take the position that the environment IS the main influence, not genes."

    "Either the environment is a factor, or it isn't!"

    I don't know anyone who would claim that either genes or environment do not play a factor. It's certainly a combination of both. I think the reason that liberals downplay the environmental effects of the Koran is because there are many other factors to take into account. You say that the peaceful verses of the Koran have less impact because people who value those verses are more likely to be peaceful anyway. But I don't think you acknowledged that muslims who recite the most violent parts of the Koran are more likely to be violent anyway. I think that the numerous other environmental factors are more likely to influence the way one perceives a religion, rather than religion influencing the way one views one's environment. I wouldn't think the guy standing on a corner wearing a sandwich board that quotes Revelations has the same view of God as someone who prefers to quote John 3:16.

    In the same way that ancient peoples living on the coast would worship a water god, or the agricultural people would worship a harvest god, someone who grows up in a socially conservative region experiencing American foreign intervention is likely to latch on to passages advocating a holy war against invading infidels. I have a problem with saying that muslims are more likely to be terrorists not necessarily because it's inaccurate, but because it's missing the point. It's very noticeable that countries that are terrorist hotbeds have large muslim populations, but there are plenty of countries with large muslim populations that are not terrorist hotbeds, because correlation is not causation.

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  5. I think it's disingenuous to presume that liberals are more likely to engage in this behavior. I'd wager that's a bit of your personal bias seeping into the matter.

    Far too many people do it across the political spectrum. I'd dare to suggest nearly everyone does it at times. It's human nature.

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  6. I wanted to refute (basically all of) your arguments but it will take me time to write a long post about cruelty and ethnic cleansing in the bible, profiling against Jews under the Third Reich, African Americans in the 1960's, and most importantly the issue of generalizing when an issue involves Muslims but not when it involves Americans.

    I see that another reader did a good job addressing some of your arguments. Maybe you should start looking at things from a different perspective.

    You're not different from those who claim that "Muslims attacked us in 9/11". According to you, one should start profiling Americans and/or Christians as well because there were 19 people who killed civilians for fun in a crowded square in Baghdad a couple of years ago. If someone is stupid enough to claim these are isolated incidents (like Abu Ghraib prison and privates gambling over shooting kids from distance), he should know that the number of people who knocked down the two buildings in 2001 were also 19 (now that's a coincidence).

    People who invaded a country that has nothing to do with 9/11 (no country does), killed hundreds of thousands of civilians (accidentally as collateral damage you might ironically claim) are the ones who should be profiled in airports all around the world, not Muslims.

    So as a summary, either start by profiling yourself, or STFU (sorry but could not find a more decent expression with the same tonality).

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  7. Reader 68,

    your post includes many errors.

    First, your decision to discuss Muslim issues is completely unrelated to the post's premise, which is that liberals tend to invoke the importance of the environment in one situation and then turn around and decide not to invoke the envronment in another, similar, situation.

    The Muslim issue was just an example of that, and hence whether Muslims should be profiled or not is completely irrelevant to my argument (Muslims were only relevant in the sense that the environmental influence of the Koran affects them).

    Hence, it appears that you have provided me with an irrational, emotional response for some reason. Does it bother you that Muslims are more likely to be terrorists? If so, why? The vast majority of Muslims in America are not terrorists, so why would it bother you?

    Let me address that.

    You mention ethnic cleansing being mentioned in the bible. If that is indeed the case, what's the relevance to my post? My post briefly mentioned that it was rational to profile Muslims for terrorism. You haven't provided any information to counter that.The environmental influence of the Bible on Christians is obviously not the same as the environmental influence of the Koran on Muslims, for at least one reason: You don't have priests promoting jihad in churches. Comparing the Bible to the Koran is worthless in this regard.

    You claim that I'm generalizing about Muslims but not about Americans. First off all, that's incorrect, beause when I refer to Muslims I'm referring to American Muslims as well. Do you not consider Muslim Americans to be American?

    If you are indeed referring to Americans as non-Muslim Americans, Well, why WOULD I generalize Americans to be more likely to be terrorists?

    The only non Muslim Americans I can think of off hand that have been terrorists (or were convicted of terrorism) in recent history are The Unabomber and Tim McVeigh. (but there likely have been a few more).

    Now, in America, the number of Muslims related to terrorism is much longer than that...the Buffalo "six", Bin Laden's former personal driver, the army shooter in 2009, the New York subway plot, the 1993 World Trade Centre attacks (at least 2 people involved with that). But there are surely more examples than this.

    Those examples alone include at least 11 Muslims in America (I'm not sure how many people were involved with the NY subway plot, and the WTC attacks probably involved more than 2 people). That outnumbers the 2 non-Muslim Americans.

    Then you consider that non-Muslim Americans outnumber Muslim Americans by about 30 to 1, When you adjust the sample size to account for that, the examples I gave mean that there are 30*11=333 Muslim American terrorists for every 2 non-Muslim American terrorists.

    Now, the stat I gave are just examples. The ratio of 330 to 2 is not dead on, but i'm sure it's easily true that that Muslim American terrorists are FAR more prominent.

    Even if there WERE equally as many Muslim American terrorists as non-Muslim American terrorists (say 5 vs 5 in the past 30 years), Muslim Americans would STILL be far more likely to be a terrorist because those 5 are selected out of a smaller sample size, meaning they are far more likely to be terrorists.

    The ratio in that case changes to 30*5=150 vs 5.

    cont'd below

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  8. cont'd from above

    Let's look at terrorist attacks in other countries in recent decades. Can you think of any conducted by non-Muslims? I can think of two exampless: years of Northern Ireland attacks on Catholics, and the assassination of Israel's PM by it's own jewish citizen (if you could call that terrorism).

    However, there have been thousands of terrorist attacks by Muslims among dozens of countries: In the 1980s the Tamil Tigers Muslims in Sri Lanka inspired modern suicide bombing, continuing the attacks for over 25 years. I would think that thousands of terrorist attacks occurred there. In Russia, there have been many terrorist attacks, including the several terrorists that attacked a school house and a female bomber that blew up an airliner. In southern Thailand, hundreds of people die annually in the south as a result of Muslims attacking others. Similar attacks occur regulary in Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Saudia Arabia...the examples are almost countless.

    Even worse, polling of Muslims aroudn the world (and even in America) show that significant numbers of people actually admit supporting terrorist ideals (the support ranged from about 5 to 10% of Muslims in America, i believe, to upwards of 30 to 40% in other countries).

    If you are suggesting Muslims aren't more likely to be terrorists, that's just bizarre (unless you are just a troublemaker).

    As for Americans killing civilians in Iraq for fun (apart from civilian war casualties). What's your point?

    The purpose of a profile is to say that one group is more likely to commit the act then others. So it appears that you are saying that Americans troops or security forces are more likely to kill civilians than non Americans are. How do you know that if soldiers from other countries were in the same situation, how do you know that there wouldn't have also been a small number of them killing the enemy for fun? How do you know other country's soldiers aren't killing for fun in other wars right now? Your comments don't make any sense at all.

    I bet that if you were to examine the data, I bet that soldiers from many other countries, including Muslim countries, would be MORE likely than Americans to commit atrocities in similar situations.

    And you mention that Americans should be profiled at airports. Profiled for what? Hijacking? Do you know of a case of any non-Muslim Americans that have EVER hijacked a plane?

    And what does the Iraq war have to do with profiling of Americans for terrorism? Regardless of whether you think it was justified to invade Iraq, let me remind you that the war lasted more than 2-3 months ONLY because terrorists started attacking Americans and Iraqi civilians.

    And why would you claim that I should be profiled? Are you implying that I'm non-Muslim and American? Why would you assume that?

    Are you implying that it's not possible for Muslims to be logical?

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  9. Reader 67,

    Remember, my post was about liberals downplaying the effects of the environment in one situation and promoting it in a similar situation.

    When you provide the example that the terrorists would've been violent anyway if the Koran wasn't around, that actually could support my argument. Because in that case you are arguing that the genes are a factor in violence (although you don't make it clear whether you believe it's the main factor-well actually you do, more on this below).

    But that was my point...that liberals promote genes in one situation (terrorism) and downplay genes in other situations (many behavioral situations, IQ etc).

    You say:

    "I don't know anyone who would claim that either genes or environment do not play a factor. It's certainly a combination of both."

    Of course, I just claimed that they downplay or overly promote the effects, not completely disregard them. You later acknowledge this.

    You write:

    "But I don't think you acknowledged that muslims who recite the most violent parts of the Koran are more likely to be violent anyway."

    Yes, I agree that they are more likely to be violent anyway...but in a different form. If the Koran wasn't around, the would perhaps tend to be robbers or rapers.

    The reason I didn't acknowledge that is this: If you agree that Muslims who recite the violent parts of the Koran are more likely to be violent, then you are actually saying that it's the genes that are the main cause of the violence! (because the Koran is the only environmental factor being discussed, and it's been removed in the example you gave).

    So there was no need for me to acknowledge this, because it fit into my argument exactly: that liberals promote the role of genes when it comes to the terrorists themselves (although your comparison with the violence that would be committed by terrorists if the Koran HADN'T been around provides yet another contradiction by liberals! They believe genes to be the factor with terrorism but you never hear them promote genes as the cause of crime in general).

    Also, remember this distinction: my post used the example of profiling terrorists, not profiling robbers or rapists.

    You write:

    "I think that the numerous other environmental factors are more likely to influence the way one perceives a religion, rather than religion influencing the way one views one's environment. "

    That's not the point, even if that's true. The only criteria with profiling is whether a trait increases the chances of that person being a terrorist, not whether it is the BEST predictor of a terrorism. If there are better predictors, than you combine that predictor ALONG WITH the criteria of profiling Muslims.

    You mentioned that there are "plenty of countries with large muslim populations that are not terrorist hotbeds, because correlation is not causation."

    Really? Like which? The only ones I can think of are in the Bosnian region, where they practice a gentler form of Islam.

    There are countless Muslim countries that are hotbeds of terrorism: Iraq, Indonesia, Phillipines, Russia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Palestine. Indonesia is actually the most populous Muslim country in the world!

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  10. Interesting stuff, one point of order to NoSuchOpinions regarding debate above: The Tamil Tigers are a Hindu terrorist group, not Muslim.

    You are certainly right that big majority of terrorist attacks on Earth today are conducted by Muslims, and that it makes absolute sense to profile Muslim travellers as part of a sound aviation security. Israel has been doing this discretely for decades and as a result has the best aviation security record in the world.

    At the same time, there are many more exammples of non-Muslim terrorism worth being aware of, including: The Basque in Spain, the Tamil Tigers who we already mentioned, the Maoists of India, the dissident IRA, as well as certain animal rights groups and Anarchists active in countries like Greece.

    Having said that, the threat posed by the groups undoubtedly pales in comparison to the threat from the jihad terrorists.

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  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSA_Flight_1771

    American Fligh Hijacked by an angry former employee and destroyed in a suicide attack.

    This let to an appropriate and legal "discriminatory" measure to prevent this from occuring again. All credentials entitling air-crews to special privileges were revoked upon cessation of employment.

    The type of person discriminated against: former employee terminated by an airline

    Permissible because: employee was terminated for cause. This passes the rational basis test for constitutional review.

    Profiling based on race does not meet the rational basis test for ensuring the safety of air passengers because race is not a variable to which the Supreme Court would even listen to a rational basis claim. Since the concept of race (as defined in contemporary america as skin color), as an essential and unchangeable aspect of a person given at birth has been used to improperly and illegally discriminate in the history of our nation, all usages of race must past the strict scrutiny test to be constitutionally permissible in the United States of America.

    Strict scrutiny ensures that the discrimination is motivated not by a mere rational interest (such as noticing such and such % of terrorists are a particular religion or race), but by the fact that the end being sought by the government is not attainable by any other means than the discriminatory measures being undertaken.

    Profiling based on race would never be permissible under this standard because there are many other ways to achieve the ends of airline security without the gross discrimination of profiling.

    Security forces can simply keep track of who visits foreign countries consistently or who has reported contact with terrorists to begin a heightened scrutiny of that person.

    If a person has visited the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan approximately 10 - 15 times in the past few years they should be subject to heightened security measures.

    That is permissible.

    Stereotyping an entire religion is inflammatory and against the very principles that set us apart from extremists of every stripe in the crazy mixed up world in which we live in.

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  12. Terrorism is a form of behaviour defined by ones actions not ones physical appearance or name. There are millions of muslims who are blue eyed blondes with names like Smith and Jones. Racial Profiling will not help you catch those. Ask the Israelis. They do not do racial profiling. They watch behaviour. They treat you the same regardless of your apparent religion or ethnic group. As there hasn't been a successful terrorist attack against Israel in many decades I'd say they are the worlds experts and we should learn from them. Racial profiling is only going to antagonize and alienate the group you are profiling and inevitably cause the very problems it is trying to prevent.

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  13. I would simply like to research your premise further. Could you please provide me with your sources for this information. For example, specifically which self proclaimed liberals reversed their statements regarding environmental factors.
    And also, if you wouldn't mind answering, did you have a specific instance in mind when you stated they reversed their opinion? Of course, I do realize that once I am able to research the information you provide on where you located your information, I will probably be able to determine that for myself. But if it is in different places, please list all of them. I am very curious about this idea.

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  14. Reader 69,

    Thanks for the compliments!

    Thanks for the correction about Tamils. Before I wrote my post, I wasn’t sure that Tamils tended to be Muslim (after all, they have brown skin but are not Arabic). I did a keyword search and an article I briefed quickly suggested that Tamils were Muslims, so that’s why I wrote that. I should’ve done more research. After further brief research, it does appear that Tamils are more often Hindu, as you said, with some Christians.

    And thanks for pointing out a few more examples of non-Muslim terrorism. The Basque ETA terrorism was one example I had on the tip of my tongue that I forgot about; when I’m writing these articles I sometimes have so many thoughts going through my head that it crowds out some extra examples! The Basque example is interesting, because the Spanish government at first suggested the terrorism on the trains were the action of ETA and not Al’Qaeda. Many people believe that contributed to the change in Spain’s government during the election a few days after the bombing.

    You are right about the threat from Muslim terrorists being greater than that from most non-Muslim groups. In part, that’s due to greater Muslim willingness to blow themself up; hence they can get closer to many targets. One example is the suicide bomber who had a bomb in his underwear and detonated it in the office of a prince(although the Tamil Tigers are one other group that regularly used suicide bombing as well).

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  15. Reader 70,

    You mention “rational basis test for constitutional review” and claim that “race is not a variable to which the Supreme Court would even listen to a rational basis claim.”

    Do you have any information to support this? Are you saying the Supreme Court wouldn’t agree with something logical like profiling? If they don’t use logic, then what DO they use when making decisions?

    If you are correct that the Supreme Court wouldn’t allow profiling, then perhaps they are at fault!

    You claim that race “has been used to improperly and illegally discriminate in the history of our nation, all usages of race must past the strict scrutiny test to be constitutionally permissible in the United States of America.”

    I agree race has been used illogically and unfairly in the past. But why WOULDN’T it be fair and logical to use race as a variable in profiling?

    If you believe that racial profiling is unfair, then you would have to believe that ALL profiling is unfair, because it means you don’t agree with using logic (or agree with using logic in some circumstances and not others!) By that token, you’d have to stop profiling of, say, nervous people, people who are leaving the country, etc., on the grounds that it’s unfair to inspect people leaving the country simply to attempt to find a criminal that may be fleeing the country.

    You claim:

    “Strict scrutiny ensures that the discrimination is motivated not by a mere rational interest (such as noticing such and such % of terrorists are a particular religion or race), but by the fact that the end being sought by the government is not attainable by any other means than the discriminatory measures being undertaken.”

    Your statement alone is an admission that some want to avoid racial profiling even though it’s “rational”!

    And why would you want to avoid rational profiling by using other measures that will be less successful by themselves? No matter how many other traits of terrorists you can find, the more profiles you have, the better the chance of finding them. If race is a profile, you should include it.

    Stereotyping is inflammatory to some only because those people don’t understand (or simply dislike) the fact that it’s rational. According to the same logic these people use, we would also have to eliminate ALL logic in profiling, and we would have trouble catching many criminals at all! We would also have trouble hiring people successfully in the workforce, because we wouldn’t be able to profile a resume according to what the profile of a successful applicant tends to be (for example, someone who has an MBA versus someone without).

    So, these people believe that it’s ok to use logic in profiling sometimes, and other times it’s not!

    To deny that racial profiling is logical and fair is to deny that we can use logic at ALL in ANY type of profiling in life!

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  16. Reader 71,

    I didn't say that racial profiling was the best method to catch terrorists, I said it was a useful method to catch terrorists. It may not catch blond terrorists, but it will catch terrorists that you wouldn't catch if you didn't profile at all.

    Looking for suspicious behavior, as the Israelis do, should be part of the equation. Why? Because a terrorist's profile TENDS to include certain behavior. Similarly, a terrorist's religion TENDS to be Muslim. You should combine them both.

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  17. Reader 72,

    I don't have the source of information readily available. The example appeared to me over the years...I have a strong memory.

    However, I don't need to provide any examples to make my point. The point is simply that liberals tend to downplay the environment when it comes to Muslim terrorism, and overly promote the environment when it comes to criminal behavior.

    I would think this is common knowledge to many people. Do you not think it's liberals that tend to complain about racial profiling of Muslims as terrorists? Do you not think that their argument against that profiling is that not all Muslims are terrorists (which would mean you'd have to refute the environmental role of the Koran)?

    Do you not think that it's liberals that promote the role of the environment as a factor in people's behavior (IQ, crime etc.)?

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  18. "And why would you want to avoid rational profiling by using other measures that will be less successful by themselves? No matter how many other traits of terrorists you can find, the more profiles you have, the better the chance of finding them. If race is a profile, you should include it."

    I think you're skipping over an important question here, and it's perhaps the central argument in all of our discussions about terrorism over the last nine years. That question is, "If X would allow us to stop more terrorists attacks, should we automatically do X? What if it violates the Geneva conventions? What if it violates our own laws? What if it violates the Constitution?"

    I believe you're ignoring all of those "what if"s. Perhaps you think they don't matter, but you should say so. In the case of racial profiling, liberals argue that it violates the fourth and fourteenth amendments.

    There are, I'm sure, plenty of good examples of liberal hypocrisy, but this one seems like too much of a stretch. Nobody is saying that environmental factors don't exist. We're saying that the Constitution proscribes the policy that you're arguing for.

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  19. Reader 65,

    the 15th amendment has to do with voting rights. That's not applicable here, I wouldn't think.

    The 14th mentions that the state can't deprive one of life and liberty without due process (and the equal protection clause, which was used in the context of allowing blacks to serve on juries etc.)

    I wouldn't think that it's feasible to argue that scrutinizing someone due to their race, while searching for terrorists, would count as a deprivation of liberty. After all, if that's the case, then we'd have to ban the police from being able to bring any person at all into the police station for questioning. After all, many types of profiles are used by the police.

    Even if one IS able to argue that racial profiling violates the 14th amendment, then perhaps there should be another amendment allowing profiling, because the 14th amendment, the intent of it, may not have been to avoid racial profiling for the purposes of catching terrorists.

    And even if it DOES violate the 14th amendment...my question to people is this...why WOULDN'T you want to allow the government to use profiling, if it will assist society overall? Are these people not willing to risk being scrutinized a bit in order to protect others (and themselves) from a terrorist attack?

    The Geneva convention deals with prisoners of war. Not applicable here.

    If it violates laws, then the law should be reexamined to determine the intent of the law and to determine whether the law should be altered.

    Only one position is the most logical-if it turns out that current laws preclude the most logical position, then they should be reexamined. Laws aren't always perfect, and don't always foresee all circumstances and contexts.

    And as for example of liberal hypocrisy, I wonder if there are any examples in which they invoke the constitution and others in which they ignore the constitution! :)

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  20. "the 15th amendment has to do with voting rights. That's not applicable here, I wouldn't think."

    Nobody brought up the 15th Amendment.

    I'm not a constitutional scholar, and I suspect you're not either. The points in Zona's post were derived from the views of people who DO know about the Constitution, namely the justices of the Supreme Court. At any rate, I'm not really up for arguing about whether the 4th and 14th amendments are violated by racial profiling until you define what sort of racial profiling you're talking about. Shall we get down to specifics?

    The main thing I'm concerned about is this notion:

    "And even if it DOES violate the 14th amendment...my question to people is this...why WOULDN'T you want to allow the government to use profiling, if it will assist society overall?"

    I maintain that anything in violation of the Constitution does NOT assist society overall.

    "Are these people not willing to risk being scrutinized a bit in order to protect others (and themselves) from a terrorist attack?"

    By that argument, we may as well repeal the 4th amendment. If you're innocent, you shouldn't mind your privacy being violated.

    ("The Geneva convention deals with prisoners of war. Not applicable here." Yeah, I was drawing analogies to, say, the debate on torture.)

    A final question. What percentage of Muslims would you guess are terrorists? Just give me an order of magnitude, obviously, since it's impossible to be very specific.

    And a final comment: "I wonder if there are any examples in which they invoke the constitution and others in which they ignore the constitution!"

    Conservatives would probably argue that liberals ignore the 2nd amendment, but liberals would counter that it's a disagreement over the 2nd amendment's interpretation. See, for instance, the debate over the comma (or lack thereof) after "militia", and whether this implies that guns are a right only insofar as they allow the people to defend themselves, or whether they're a fundamental right regardless of such concerns.

    I don't think anybody seriously believes the Constitution should be ignored (well, maybe you do, but let's wait on that). But there are certainly differing opinions (yes) on how broadly each protected right should be interpreted.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Reader 65,

    you quoted me:

    "And even if it DOES violate the 14th amendment...my question to people is this...why WOULDN'T you want to allow the government to use profiling, if it will assist society overall?"

    You then wrote:

    "I maintain that anything in violation of the Constitution does NOT assist society overall."

    But why do you think it doesn't assist society overall? You don't provide any evidence. Any decision should boil down to a cost/benefit analysis.

    You quote me again:

    "Are these people not willing to risk being scrutinized a bit in order to protect others (and themselves) from a terrorist attack?"

    And then you write:

    "By that argument, we may as well repeal the 4th amendment. If you're innocent, you shouldn't mind your privacy being violated."

    You wouldn't need to repeal the 4th amendment. That amendment guards against "unreasonable" searches and seizures. This means that many innocent people will be certainly be searched because reasonable circumstances will suggest that a search of some innocent people is warranted, as well as guilty people.

    In the same vein, it's very "reasonable" to search many members of a particular race depending on what profile you are looking for.

    As for the % of Muslims that I think are terrorists. Well, the number would vary according to country. Perhaps 0.1 to 0.5 in Muslim countries, maybe less. However, the % that supports terrorist ideals (and hence might contribute financially) is much greater; the % varies from about 5% to 10% in America to upwards of 40% in Muslim countries (according to a survey in which the numbers were probably actually an underestimate, because some sympathizers wouldn't want to admit they support terrorist ideology.)

    Well the Constitution was written at a certain time under a certain context. If things change enough so that the benefits of ignoring the Constitution outweigh the costs, why wouldn't someone ignore it? But the ideal route would be to look for an amendment.

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  22. i just have a simple question for you.

    what are these other situations that liberals take a 180 about?

    Of course everyone takes influence from their environment, it stems from a variety of factors but let me put it this way, conservatives like to assume one becomes a homosexual through their environment. However were talking about religion here. Faith. Something that takes a lot of trust based on choice. A product of environment? absolutely. but not completely.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous,

    I already answered your first question:

    "When it comes to talk of behavioural differences between groups, liberals tend to do a complete 180, and suddenly take the position that the environment is the main influence, not genes."

    I'm not sure what the point of your third paragraph is. It's absurd to think that a significant cause of homosexuality is the environment (at least in terms of how most people define "environment", meaning influences by others).

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ummm... But you haven't answered the previous poster's first question. You haven't provided a single example where liberals (en masse??) take the position that the environment is the main influence, not genes.

    Even if you have, so what? Essentially, the whole point of your article seems to be that liberals some things to genes, and other things to environment. What's the point? You don't explain why that's illogical or wrong.

    Is it inconceivable that some human behaviour should be attributable to heredity, while others should be attributable to surroundings?

    ReplyDelete
  25. First of all, intelligence does not test for common sense, and does not make the most intelligent person the best person to give a "rational" solution to problems.

    In the United States we have civilian control of the military--all of those expert warriors trained over many years are subject to the leadership of the president where the buck stops. That is because the OPINION of the civilian leadership, rather than the rational knowledge based ability of the warriors to fight and win wars, is the one that counts.

    Likewise, scientists seeking funds and starting projects are controlled by politicians in funding of projects and research. While efficiency may be important, there are other moral and ethical considerations and there is no RIGHT or WRONG answers, since the arguments on an issue (unlike a mathematical formula) can not be measured or weighed--ie measuring short term effects vs long term effects.

    And in the legal area, contrary to the logic of some,clearly "quilty" persons can and do get off on a "technicality", and the justification is to preserve the integrity of the legal system. And in the usa, we also use legally untrained jurors as ultimate determiners of fact.

    Thus every time you have to make a decision with competing outcomes, there is rarely a clearly logical or "intelligent" or rational choice, but merely a debate. Attempting to formulate a rational argument for one of two or more solutions depending on emotions, values, uknown and unknowable events is likely to be a useless quest.

    And by your postings, I assume you are under 30 with little or no life experience, since when I was a schoolboy in high school(not that many years ago) I also thought that book knowledge would lead to proper results.

    And having a background in both the natural sciences and the humanities, I see that I was clearly wrong

    And that is MY OPINION

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous:

    you write:

    "Ummm... But you haven't answered the previous poster's first question. You haven't provided a single example where liberals (en masse??) take the position that the environment is the main influence, not genes."

    I did provide an example: "behavioural differences". Want me to be more specific? OK. Crime is one example.

    You write:

    "Even if you have, so what? Essentially, the whole point of your article seems to be that liberals some things to genes, and other things to environment. What's the point? You don't explain why that's illogical or wrong."

    I don't need to explain why it's wrong for it to be true that it's wrong. Maybe I just didn't bother.

    I'll explain now. It's wrong because either the environment tends to have an effect on behavior, or it doesn't. If one claims that the environment (who you hang around with, are influenced by, for example) is a main cause of crime, then it's not plausible for that same person to claim that the environment (What you read religiously, the Koran) is NOT an environmental influence of terrorism.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous,

    You write:

    "First of all, intelligence does not test for common sense, and does not make the most intelligent person the best person to give a "rational" solution to problems."

    That's a bizarre thing to write, considering that it says nothing about the strength of my argument about strange liberal tendencies.

    If you are implying that my argument isn't necessarily correct because I'm not necessarily the most rational person, then you might as well say something equally as bizarre, like: "the strongest man in the world isn't necessarily a man, because not all men are stronger than all women".

    You write:

    "...the OPINION of the civilian leadership, rather than the rational knowledge based ability of the warriors to fight and win wars, is the one that counts."

    Again, I don't know what this has to do with liberal tendencies. Regardless, I would've thought that the civilian leadership was in charge simply because it represents the public, which created the government itself.

    It seems you are simply changing the subject in an attempt to project intelligence.

    You write:

    "...there is no RIGHT or WRONG answers, since the arguments on an issue (unlike a mathematical formula) can not be measured or weighed--ie measuring short term effects vs long term effects."

    Of course the long term effects can't always be measured, since they haven't occurred yet! That doesn't mean that you can't project estimates that turn out to be more often right than wrong.


    "And in the usa, we also use legally untrained jurors as ultimate determiners of fact."

    Again, this is unrelated to anything in this thread, but this is a very good point.

    "Thus every time you have to make a decision with competing outcomes, there is rarely a clearly logical or "intelligent" or rational choice, but merely a debate."

    You're correct that there is rarely a clear outcome, but that's only because there aren't enough people smart or knowledgeable enough to figure it out. There IS a clearly logical outcome. But very few can figure it out.

    "Attempting to formulate a rational argument for one of two or more solutions depending on emotions, values, uknown and unknowable events is likely to be a useless quest."

    This is not useless. Anything supposedly subjective can be objectified by further research. See this thread for more on this:

    http://nosuchthingasanopinion.blogspot.com/2010/11/bizarre-world-of-racial-hyphenation.html

    "And by your postings, I assume you are under 30 with little or no life experience, since when I was a schoolboy in high school(not that many years ago) I also thought that book knowledge would lead to proper results."

    No offense, but the reason society is so screwed up is that even intelligent people like you aren't intelligent ENOUGH to figure out the most logical scenarios, as I'm capable of.

    ReplyDelete
  28. But you're lumping all crime into one pot, and saying it must have the same origin. Crime is simply that which is against the laws of society. With such a plethora of activities clustered together under the umbrella of 'crime', why is unreasonable to assume that they won't all be determined by the same factors?

    Even ignoring this, it's bizarre how you manage to try to use this argument to prove that liberals are hypocritical. You lay down an argument, you admit that you can't find the appropriate term, and you therefore decide to use 'liberals' instead. Even if your argument is correct, you've proven nothing about liberals.

    Look at it this way: "Some people say that it's a good thing to kill people. I'm going to call such people 'Conservatives'. I won't call them 'murderers' because that would make my argument sound funny..." If I then go onto prove my initial premise, it doesn't prove anything about Conservatives, because I haven't demonstrated why the two terms are inter-changeable. Much like in your argument, the reasoning is completely fallacious.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous,

    When I refer to "crime", I'm referring to crime in general. Since I didn't define the types of crime, and since the term refers to many types of crime, then by definition, my use of it must refer to many types of crime.

    I don't know why you feel the need to define it even further.

    And I'm not saying that the crime must have any type of origin at all, as you claim.

    In fact, I never speculated on the cause of crime. I simply said that liberals tend to blame crime on the environmental factors. Do you understand what this means?

    Most people understand that when I refer to crime, I'm referring to crime in general. If you want to nitpick simply so that you don't lose the argument, continue doing so, and I'll continue exposing your flaws.

    You write:

    "You lay down an argument, you admit that you can't find the appropriate term"

    Huh? I never said the use of the word liberal wasn't an appropriate term. The term IS correct. However, it would have been even MORE appropriate to use the term "irrational"...however, that wouldn't have been an aha moment, as I mentioned.

    Your point about conservatives and murder makes absolutely no sense. You offer no reasons why conservatives would be considered murderers, nor a reason to explain why murdering wouldn't be considered an aha moment.

    My point made sense, because it's not an aha moment to say that irrational people act rational in one scenario and also act irrational in another.

    You keep making claims, but offer nothing of substance to back them up. Please provide a name other than "anonymous" so that I will know which poster to stop wasting my time responding to.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The author of this blog likes boning goats.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm very sorry to hear that you have no sources that you can provide. I was really hoping for a counterpoint to the Daily Show. I normally only see conservatives and republicans contradicting themselves on there.

    I do understand the point that you are making and respect your opinion. If you do think of or find any sources please let me know. In the meanwhile, I will continue my search. Thank you for your time.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Reader 72,

    I provide an example above. Crime is the example.

    I'm not going to further research which liberals may have flip-flopped on the idea that the environment is a main factor towards behavior in general, because it's not necessary for my point to be interesting:

    Just the fact that you can

    1) find many liberals that will claim the environment is the main influence in one scenario (crime) and

    2)find many liberals that will claim the environment is NOT the main influence in a similar scenario (koran influence on terrorism)

    is evidence of how bizarre the liberal movement is in general, in that respect.

    In fact, I think it would be a challenge to find ANY liberals that will claim that genes are a main cause of crime and/or that the Koran is a main cause of terrorism.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "It's wrong because either the environment tends to have an effect on behavior, or it doesn't. If one claims that the environment (who you hang around with, are influenced by, for example) is a main cause of crime, then it's not plausible for that same person to claim that the environment (What you read religiously, the Koran) is NOT an environmental influence of terrorism."

    Why is that implausible? This is a habit of yours—when someone challenges you on a point, you tend just reiterate it, rather than making an in-depth attempt at explaining why it's true. Do you really think that both of those things are "environments" in the same sense? Surely most Christians spend more time interacting with people than they do reading the Bible, so the former would have a bigger impact than the latter. Why wouldn't the same be true of Muslims and the Koran?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Sue,

    it's wrong because you can't change the criteria in order to suit one's argument.

    You can't say that who you're exposed to in one circumstance (what you're exposed to by family, friends, criminals) affects you but then go ahead and say that similar environmental effects (what you're exposed to by religious family, friends, imams, the Koran) don't have an effect.

    I don't think Christian and Muslims are comparable at all. Are you serious with this line of questioning?

    I would think that Muslims are more likely to be attend religious service than Muslims.

    I know for sure that there are imams preaching violence in mosques, Muslims preaching jihad on the net, and violence inspired by muslims all over the newspaper.

    Virtually none of that is reported in the Christian community, at least not in an amount comparable. Perhaps the ratio is 1 to 100.

    And since Christians outnumber Muslims by about 35 to 1, the comparable ratio would enlarge to 1 to 3500.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Whatever you wrote about "liberal hypocrisy" applies equally, if not more so to "conservative hypocrisy", especially to conservatives who want to control and censor what consenting adults do among themselves--particularly the war on drugs and pornography-- and their philosophy of downsizing the government and reducing governmental interference in our lives.

    Furthermore, look at conservative support for subsidies to build sports arenas and bailouts and subsidies of the rich in a zillion different ways ( particularly outrageous is billion dollar income hedge fund operators being taxed at a 15% rate), while excoriating the poor for being "lazy"

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anonymous,

    I agree that it's disturbing that some conservatives want to censor pornography. As for drugs, that's a more complex situation, but I would lean towards favoring legalization. Not because I think that drugs are good for society, but because I believe legalization is the lesser of two evils.

    The philosophy of downsizing government is actually one of the best ideas conseratives have...large government is extremely disturbing, and i'll explain why in a future article.

    Although it may be irrational to censor pornography, you don't claim how this is hypocritical at all.

    For a liberal to be hypocritical about whether the cause of behavior tends to be mostly influenced my genes or the environment is extremely disturbing, because it has far reaching effects that can affect the broader economy and society for decades (look at the liberal affirmative actions programs in places for decades since the 1960s).

    I'm not sure that conservatives would be more likely to support bailouts...the Tea Party is largely conservative and they've been railing against government policies, including bailouts.

    Yes, a 15% capital gain tax rate does not seem fair for hedge funds...however, the benefits of such a policy (perhaps it attracts foreign capital) may outweigh the costs.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Again, I respect your opinion. I was merely stating that I had hoped you would be able to put forth some sources that made you come to that opinion.

    Based on your statements on this site regarding your strong memory, it was my hope that you would remember what it was that you had read, or seen that brought you to that conclusion. That is all.

    I have a fascination for how fickle humans can be, but I prefer facts and evidence to opinion. With the facts presented, and the evidence that back up those facts, one is more easily able to make up their own mind.

    It is why I do not watch Fox or MSNBC. There are more opinions than facts. Again I thank you for your time, and I am sorry to have inconvenienced you in anyway. I appreciate the time you took to respond to my query.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Reader 72,

    did you read my reply to your second last post? I'm curious as to your thoughts.

    My main article was referring mostly to contradictions by liberals in general, not a specific contradiction by any individual liberals.

    I was specific about two examples: crime and terrorism.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Different situations are caused by different factors. Sometimes environment is a factor, and sometimes it isn't. This doesn't mean people are "pulling a 180," it just happens to be the case. Why does the environment affecting people have to be the same in all environments?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jeremy,

    I agree that the environment can have greater influences in certain circumstances.

    But there's no clear reason that I'm aware of that liberals tend to believe that the environmental context in the one situation (terrorism) is markedly different ENOUGH from the environmental context in the second situation (crime) to be able to claim that the environment is a large factor in the one scenario but not in the other (especially since both crime and terrorism are similar in that they involve crime and sometimes violence).

    If someone thinks that the environmental influences towards crime are very strong, I find it hard to believe that they would NOT consider environmental influences to be strong when it comes to terrorism. Both can involve motives (for rewards) and both can involve similar influences (friends influencing you with their beliefs). Among other reasons.

    Also, even if they did feel that there was reason to doubt the similarity of the environment between the two contexts, I wouldn't think such a belief should result in the often wildly different manners that their beliefs are demonstrated (great anger when discussing genetic causes of crime, but then great anger at using racial (genetic) profiling for terrorism at airports).

    The response doesn't seem proportionate to what you'd expect even if there WERE reason to think that the environment was a strong influence in one context and not a strong influence in another. The lack of consistency suggests that bias and emotion may be clouding judgment.

    ReplyDelete
  41. When you consider that crime in the United States of America disproportionately locks up more Hispanics and African Americans than whites, a liberal might argue that this constitutes systemic institutional racism. To wit, a dangerous environment fosters a dangerous person. The typical liberal response is to acknowledge and change the environment through positive social reform, namely through government programs and stronger community involvement, but not through harsher sentencing or tougher laws on a specific community. What's important is that liberals don't think someone born into a situation outside of his or her control should suffer discrimination.

    And I don't think that position differs from their stance on racial profiling. Liberals, from I can tell, don't deny the strong environmental influences that foster terrorism. In fact, their acknowledgment of this aggression is evidence by their arguments used to oppose America's two wars, namely, that our military actions make Muslim aggression much worse (a typical slogan: "For every terrorist we kill, we make 100 more.") Similarly, liberals argue that racial profiling encourages and affirms the viewpoint of radicalized Muslims who tell their followers that America discriminates against Muslims. Finally, following the trajectory of my first paragraphs, liberals acknowledge the impact of Muslims who live in poor areas of the world, where terrorism is often an attractive option. Even if racial-profiling is shown to make us safer, liberals would rather encourage relief through international-aid, NGOs, etc. Again, they don't think poor Muslims born into a bad situation should suffer discrimination.

    If an end goal of liberalism is restricting and limiting discrimination, then their views on crime and terrorism are parallel with one another and consistent toward that end.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Reader 105,

    interesting argument. I congratulate you on your intelligent attempt, although I do think it falls short, but you came relatively close. You are a very intelligent person!

    I think you defined some ideals of liberalism well (regardless of whether those actual ideals are logical or not!)

    You write:

    "Liberals, from I can tell, don't deny the strong environmental influences that foster terrorism. "

    Remember, I didn't claim that all liberal positions contradict each other, I simply gave one example of a contradiction (only one example is needed to show that liberals may not actually believe in the logic behind their views, that they may tend to change their argument depending on the what they WANT to believe, or what outcome they want).

    So, it's possible for many of their views to be harmonious, and I would expect that. (It's possible that a liberal could downplay the role of the environment on terrorism when you dicuss racial profiling but emphasis it when you discuss military actions.) So, that's consistent with what you write.

    Back to what you wrote:

    "Liberals, from I can tell, don't deny the strong environmental influences that foster terrorism. "

    If it's not the case that liberals downplay the role of env. in causing terrorism (when looking at racial profiling only), then why don't they advocate using the environment to actually profile Muslims? (By focusing more on Muslims that are exposed to the Koran?)

    You mention that perhaps they have this end goal:

    "restricting and limiting discrimination"

    Regardless of whether it's logical to believe such action is anti-discriminatory, I would actually agree that many liberals take stances with the POSSIBLE (I use that carefully) intent to restrict
    discrimination.

    But I would argue that my analysis also supported the contention that liberals may have an end goal of reducing discrimination, when I wrote:

    "It seems that their main purpose is to advocate the argument that they prefer, depending on the context, and to hell with logic."

    This would fit with both what you and I write. A liberal is advocating the argument they prefer (belief that both the military and profiling arguments lead to less discrimination), and is supporting the environmental cause of terrorism based on one context (military aggression) and not supportive when the context is instead racial profiling.

    But to beat you, I need to show that they are also dispensing with logic while holding these beliefs (since I said liberals hold these beliefs "and to hell with logic."

    Well, these liberal views, differing depending on context,might SEEM logical if the end goal is to reduce discrimination, but I would argue that it's not logical at all, because for something to be logical one has to looks at all factors, not just ONE end goal, because there are other consequences that occur when you take certain positions.

    And I think that there are many logical flaws with the liberal position, I'll name just one: Discrimination in itself is not wrong, it simply means to use judgement and be logical and discriminate using criteria that, in this case, happens to involve race and religion.

    If you DON'T discriminate by profiling those who are most likely to be terrorists, then you are making the world less safe, and one could argue that you are then discriminating against the non-muslim plane travellers by risking their safety.

    So, it becomes difficult for a liberal to argue that it's actually logical to claim that they really DO want to reduce discrimination, because not discriminating against one group often means you are discriminating against another group (ie. choosing blacks over whites when hiring).

    In fact, because the end point (discrimination) is not logical, one might argue that the examples you provide (military aggression vs racial profiling) are yet ANOTHER example of a contradiction provided by liberals!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I see two main points. First—liberals tend to use environmental factors to excuse the behavior of criminals but won’t consider environmental factors when it comes to the flight-safety of their fellow Americans; and second, you infer from the former that liberals exhibit some sort of cognitive bias that might explain why they would believe something so illogical.

    To address the second point, I could either provide an example that shows you don’t believe that liberals are ridiculously irrational on this issue; or—I could attempt to undermine the importance of your argument altogether. I think I’ll try both, starting now.

    As it turns out, I am (more or less) a liberal and I generally agree (to some extent) with the arguments I think liberals would make on the issue of racial profiling. Based on your initial blog post, one would expect you to immediately point out my irrationality. Instead, you wrote, “interesting argument,” and, “I congratulate you…you came relatively close,” and my personal favorite, “You are a very intelligent person!” Such kind acknowledgments are seemingly inconsistent with someone who believes his opponent has declared, “To hell with logic!”

    To me, the contradiction is clear: there exists an argument by liberals for racial profiling that isn’t completely devoid of rationality—and your affirmations acknowledge this fact. Begging the question: Perhaps you don’t really believe what you’re saying?

    But perhaps you were just being nice. I guess I’ll have to let you determinate that.

    Speaking of which, you’re the ONLY person who can even come close to making a determination on what YOU meant. Your position that liberals on this issue have said, “to hell with logic,” is, without getting into their heads, truly unfalsifiable. What piece of evidence could satisfactorily prove or disprove that one’s opinion is entirely free of cognitive dissonance?

    Lucky for us, such proof is unnecessary. I’m sure you’ve had the displeasure of listening to people who seemingly hold your viewpoints argue so terribly that it seems they don’t understand what they believe. You’ve probably even heard one of your more dimwitted friends say something unexpectedly intelligent. The point is that it doesn’t really matter what biases form our opinions, we evaluate arguments on their face and they succeed or fail on their own merits. We don’t need to speculate about what goes on in other people’s brains.

    On to your first argument. I think you tried to prove how liberals are illogical through some cognitive bias by arguing that their position on discrimination is inherently illogical. Here, we should be clear on what is meant by the words “logic” and “discrimination.”

    For something to be logical it simply must follow directly from its premises. In my earlier post, I said that it is logical (and consistent) for liberals to be against racial profiling when they consider the environmental factors of radicalized Muslims. I argued that their position on profiling when juxtaposed against their position on crime, the consideration of environmental factors exists and isn’t all that different. In both cases, liberals try not to put undue discrimination on a community they feel has been disadvantaged. For liberals, it’s a question of civil rights and liberties. And that’s important to them.

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  44. You might disagree with liberals and say that their view on racial profiling is unsafe, unrealistic, and just plain stupid—and, for the sake of argument, you might be right. But when you consider the liberal standpoint, that racial profiling appears to violate certain individual civil rights of a specific community, their reluctance makes perfect, logical sense. (Again, you don’t have to agree with the conclusion for it to be logical to conclude.)

    You’ll note that I said “limiting and restricting” and not the “elimination and abolishment” of discrimination because as you correctly noted, discrimination isn’t inherently wrong. But when it comes to racial profiling, liberals, in this case, make the value judgment that civil liberties trump any proposed threat. They view a world where discrimination is used cautiously as a last resort. Affirmative Action (something with which I don’t necessarily agree) brings up an interesting point as it does discriminate in favor of one racial group over the other. However, the liberal argument is that affirmative action actually undermines systemic and institutional racism, which on balance is far, far worse. Again, it’s a value judgment.

    And value judgments are nothing new. Libertarians, for example, argue for a limited role of government and the advancement of the free market, even if certain social programs have had positive results. Accordingly, you argue for the importance of flight safety over racial profiling. In your framework, it’s as much of a logical conclusion for profiling as it is for libertarians to be against welfare programs and for liberals to be against profiling.

    And when we talk about discrimination, we’re not talking about it in the general sense. Specifically, we’re referring to the sociological context, or as Wikipedia puts it, “the prejudicial treatment of an individual based solely on their membership in a certain group or category.” It may be true that not profiling puts Americans in danger, but by definition it’s NOT discrimination because it does not involve prejudicial treatment. How does the absence of racial profiling create unequal and prejudicial treatment?

    In sum, I think your argument follows the wrong path. A hypocritical or inconsistent position makes its progenitor look foolish, but it doesn’t modify the veracity or legitimacy of either opposing viewpoints. Similarly, a vocal anti-abortionist receiving an abortion may annoy us, but that doesn’t undermine the position that zygotes are indeed really tiny souls. As such, I still find that the liberal position on racial profiling logical and consistent.

    Anyway, thanks again for the kind words. I eagerly await your reply….

    ReplyDelete
  45. Reader 105,

    You write:

    "Correct me if I’m wrong, but I see two main points. First—liberals tend to use environmental factors to excuse the behavior of criminals but won’t consider environmental factors when it comes to the flight-safety of their fellow Americans; and second, you infer from the former that liberals exhibit some sort of cognitive bias that might explain why they would believe something so illogical. "

    Yes, those are basically my points.

    You write:

    'As it turns out, I am (more or less) a liberal and I generally agree (to some extent) with the arguments I think liberals would make on the issue of racial profiling. Based on your initial blog post, one would expect you to immediately point out my irrationality."

    Why would I do that? First, you hadn't identified yourself as a liberal, so I couldn't make a judgment as to whether you acted unusual according to a liberal's standards.

    But what if I DID know you were a liberal?

    What is it about my "initial blog post" that makes you think I would want to point out your irrationality? I never suggested that liberals always act irrationally; I simply focused on one example of irrationality.

    You write:

    "Such kind acknowledgments are seemingly inconsistent with someone who believes his opponent has declared, “To hell with logic!"

    I was referring to SOME liberals with the "hell" comment (I'm not yelling, I'm not able to italicize here). Again, you didn't make it known that you were a liberal.

    Even if I DID know you were a liberal, it's not inconsistent for me to point out rational or intelligent comments of yours. After all, I never claimed that all ideas held by all liberals are irrational. In fact, I was careful to use the word "tend" several times throughout the article, to make it clear that I was referring to an action that I felt liberals tended to make, not an action that liberals ALWAYS do.

    You write:

    "To me, the contradiction is clear: there exists an argument by liberals for racial profiling that isn’t completely devoid of rationality—and your affirmations acknowledge this fact. "

    I affirmed this: among the two contexts analysed, liberals may tend to seem to share an end goal of reducing discrimination, and that "might SEEM logical", but I went on to say that "it's not logical at all, because for something to be logical one has to looks at all factors, not just ONE end goal,"

    An irrational idea can include elements that are, on their own, rational elements.

    I complimented you simply because I believe you were able to reason well enough to come up with an answer that most people wouldn't have been able to.

    You write:

    "Your position that liberals on this issue have said, “to hell with logic,” is, without getting into their heads, truly unfalsifiable. What piece of evidence could satisfactorily prove or disprove that one’s opinion is entirely free of cognitive dissonance?"

    You mention dissonance...instead of my theory needing to show that the liberals are dissonance free, wouldn't dissonance actually be an explanation that supports the liberal tendency i mention?: Couldn't liberals form the view about wanting to reduce discrimination, encounter a view that states that it's not actually logical to believe that the discrimination related end goal has been achieved(or that costs of externalities outweigh the benefits), and hence they can encounter dissonance.

    What I wrote was this:

    "It seems that their main purpose is to advocate the argument that they prefer, depending on the context, and to hell with logic."

    If a liberal advocates a view that emphasizes the importance of the environment in one context and ignores it in another, and if it's clear that the exposure to both context's environmental stimulus is at least significant, would it NOT "seems that their main purpose is to advocate the argument that they prefer?"

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  46. I don't think that every SINGLE person who acts irrationally (as defined in my example) says "to hell with logic", but remember, i was referring to tendencies, and i think one could argue that if those liberals were able to come up with the idea that the environment is a factor in one context, yet not another, i think it's reasonable to say that they would tend to notice the broader logical inconsistencies of their views (one being the fact that if you want to reduce discrimination by avoiding profiling of one group, the effect can be discrimination against the other group). After all, discrimination is the main focus, so if discrimination is important to them, why wouldn't they notice the discrimination resulting from their actions?

    I think that most people in the group would think that way, especially if they were already thinking about discrimination related issues as an end goal in the first place...and therefore I think it's reasonable to say that if those people can think of both views (discrimination against Muslims vs discrimination against non Muslims), those people who choose the illogical one are tending to say "to hell with logic"

    You write:

    "But when you consider the liberal standpoint, that racial profiling appears to violate certain individual civil rights of a specific community, their reluctance makes perfect, logical sense. (Again, you don’t have to agree with the conclusion for it to be logical to conclude.) "

    If you accept that racial profiling does appear to violate civil rights, then, for the liberal view to be logical, in the context of civil rights only, one thing that must be accepted (although there may be other things that would also need to be accepted too) is this:

    One would also have to accept that AVOIDANCE of racial profiling will not violate civil rights by a greater degree (the avoidance of racial profiling should violate fewer civil rights than the implementation of racial profiling violates).

    Because avoidance of racial profiling for terrorism could reasonably increase safety risks, one could easily argue that avoidance of racial profiling increases risks to people's safety and is itself a violation of their civil rights.

    I do believe that people tend to believe they have a right to be protected, by the government, against reasonably foreseeable and manageable risks. As such, society provides a police force, an army, ambulances. These are all common civil rights, if you will, that are basic and common to many societies. Given that Muslims are probably thousands of times more likely than non Muslims to be terrorists, it's easily foreseeable for the government to notice that racial profiling should improve safety.

    If liberals focus on civil rights in a non safety sense, why wouldn't they also apply importance to civil rights in a safety related sense? If anything, isn't physical safety ultimately more important than other civil rights, such as the right to avoid excessive government intrusiveness?

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  47. Even IF physical safety in itself wasn't as important a civil right as non safety related civil rights, don't safety related civil rights affect far more people than non safety related ones? Doesn't racial profiling affect only 2% of the population visiting an airport, while preventing an airplane crash affects 100% of the people on the plane, INCLUDING other Muslims?

    I think my argument above is enough to satisfy your point.

    But what if you don't consider safety to be a civil right. What if one does agree that civil rights don't include attempts at physical safety.

    Would liberals then be logical when it comes to your explanation of the liberal end goal? Well, it would depend on how you define logic.

    If you believe that people can apply whatever degree of importance they wish to certain issues, then it would be logical. Because in that case, one could simply say that civil rights are more important than other externalities related to racial profiling.

    When I wrote my article, this is instead the definition of logic that I had in mind: when an action's (and it's related externalities) benefits outweigh the costs.

    I would think that most people would define logic using my definition, rather than the definition that allows a liberal to place a subjective level of importance on certain issues.

    Because, if you DON'T allow a subjective level of importance to be applied, and instead define seemingly subjective issues through other measures, such as by taking polls etc, I don't think it's reasonable to considered the benefits of racial profiling's effects and externalities to outweigh their costs.

    So, to summarize...i don't think the two liberal positions (ignore env. with profiling, highlight it with crime) are consistent with each other, because if the common thread is civil rights, and if one really values civil rights, why are the crucial physical civil rights not valued highly?

    And even IF the two positions were consistent, I don't think they are logical if you use what i consider to be the best definition of logic: whether benefits outweigh the costs as most people would define them.

    You mention discrimination. I was using the term in the broad sense-to discriminate among variables (skin color). As such, it's not necessary for me to answer the following question of yours, but I will:

    "How does the absence of racial profiling create unequal and prejudicial treatment? "

    The prejudicial, or injurious, result would be any increased safety risk that may occur.

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  48. In sum: I don’t have to make you agree with the liberal position on racial profiling; I merely need to show you that Aristotle would agree that it’s logical, which I think I did in my first post. Following that post, you argued that the liberal position on racial profiling is necessarily illogical because its premise against any discrimination necessarily and inevitably discriminates thus fostering what it set out to avoid. Moreover, you argued that discrimination has positive social utility. I responded that liberals realize discrimination is both unavoidable and has positive social utility, i.e. their view on affirmative action. But more important, your assertion that liberals would like to see an end to general discrimination is incorrect (as is any argument that follows it), because liberals are almost exclusively concerned about discrimination in the sociology context. Finally, I challenged your belief that a liberal on this issue has said “to hell with logic,” by presenting compliments YOU made to a liberal on his argument on this specific issue, from which I can only infer you were complimenting at least some of his non hell-bound logic.

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  49. Reader 105,

    You write:

    "Let’s be clear: I’m NOT talking about all liberals for any argument. "

    Actually, the following comment of yours DID imply that I WAS under the belief that all liberals were illogical:

    "Such kind acknowledgments are seemingly inconsistent with someone who believes his opponent has declared, “To hell with logic!"

    You yourself just said that I was being nice to you, who is someone I supposedly should've known was a liberal (a mistake of yours, since you didn't identify yourself as such).

    You said that I complimented you even though my liberal opponent has declared "to hell with logic". How could I have claimed that you, a liberal, were declaring "to hell with logic" unless I believed ALL liberals made that declaration? After all, the "to hell with logic" quote you refer to was written by me before I even started a discussion with you, and hence I must've been referring to a broader number of liberals than just you.

    Therefore, you seem to be incorrect when you say that you weren't talking about liberals for any argument.

    You write:

    "Therefore, I conclude by your behavior in response to my argument that you’ve found at least one argument presented by a liberal against racial profiling that uses environmental factors which makes a compelling case and hasn’t dispensed with logic...Thus, there exists at least one liberal on this specific issue which you admit (if indirectly) hasn’t said “and to hell with logic.”"

    I don't think any reasonable person would define an IDEA as being logical if the IDEA was illogical, regardless of whether components of it WERE logical. How many ideas are you aware of that include NO logical components at all?

    In fact, I would argue that the existence of SOME logical components is what tends to draw some people to the ideas.

    For you to claim that I am agreeing that your argument is logical, you'd have to limit the argument being examined instead to arguments that were less broad than the arguments I actually WAS referring to.

    You write:

    "Second, any discussion that uses the general definition of discriminating is entirely irrelevant."

    When one refers to discrimination, as I initially did, the general and broadest definition of discrimination IS what one would expect is in use, unless someone claims otherwise. So, you shouldn't have assumed otherwise, as you apparently have assumed.

    You write:

    "Liberalism doesn’t hold that any or all discrimination is bad because, as you point out, that would be stupid; so I’m not sure why you insist on addressing a premise your opponent has not and will not ever make. "

    I've reviewed every line where I referred to discrimination, in my latest post, and I see no inappropriate use.

    Please point out where I supposedly inappropriately used the word in the general sense, in my latest post.

    As for your definition of prejudice-you chose to list only ONE definition of prejudice. In fact, another definition of the word is the one that says prejudice causes injury. Which leads me to your next point:

    You write:

    "But being bothered by NOT profiling? Again, where is the prejudgment to passengers based solely on their membership in some group?"

    You are trying to put words in my mouth. I never used the definition of prejudice that you did, so I don't need to show prejudgment based on membership.

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  50. You can argue that liberals can define prejudice in only the sense they wish to; Fine, that's ok for now, but only if they DEFINE it as such. You didn't define prejudice in your comment below:

    "not talking about it in the general sense. Specifically, we’re referring to the sociological context, or as Wikipedia puts it, “the prejudicial treatment of an individual based solely on their membership in a certain group or category.” "

    So, you made an error. You chose not to define prejudice, and when I then correctly chose to use the broader definition that included "injury", you wrote back and implied I should've used the narrow definition that you use, that you hadn't bothered to define:

    "Again, where is the prejudgment to passengers based solely on their membership in some group?"

    So, I'm correct on this point, undoubtedly.

    But let's say that I was indeed referring to the narrow definition of prejudice that you refer to.

    Liberals can choose to ignore the OTHER definitions of the word prejudice, but that doesn't eliminate the logical or illogical ramifications the relate to the OTHER definition liberals choose to ignore.

    In this case, when it comes to prejudice, liberals are ignoring the illogical ramifications of their actions (although they feel they avoid prejudice by avoiding targeting certain races, they then injure society by not providing safety for society).

    You write:

    "It might feel weird, if a little uncaring, to say that passenger safety isn’t as valuable as protecting civil liberties. But it’s the same ethos (literally!) behind Patrick Henry’s famous proclamation, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Like I said, nothing new here. "

    Well, ignoring whether it seems uncaring or not, how about looking at whether it's logical or not? After all, that's the point that you need to make.

    To support your point about liberty, in the context of our discussion of racial profiling etc, you'd have to claim something along these lines:

    That the harm (if you can call it that!) related to concentrating more on Muslims and frisking them would outweigh the harm resulting from the greater potential of dozens of deaths occurring (including the deaths of those and other Muslims on the plane!) I think it would be very difficult to argue that the former causes more harm than the latter. You can attempt to do so if you wish.

    You write:

    "Finally, I only use Aristotle’s definition of logic that a conclusion follows (or in his words, “necessitates”) from its premises. There’s really no other applicable definition. "

    Regardless of whether it's NORMALLY wise of you to use the definition you used, the only definition important in our discussion is MY definition, since I'm the one that needs to defend what I meant when I wrote: "to hell with logic". I simply need to show that my definition of logic was reasonable when it was used, and to defend my belief that liberals tended to say: "to hell with logic".

    I've shown the latter. As for the former, I believe any reasonable person would agree that it was wise of me to use what is perhaps the broadest definition of logic: whether the direct and indirect benefits of an action outweigh its costs!

    Your final paragraph seems to be a summary with no new information or questions for me, so I don't need to address that.

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  51. In your article you say:


    "Certain people tend to dislike racial profiling (I'll call them liberals, and I'll later explain why that's one of the better descriptions to use)."

    However, I can't see where you've explained why the term 'liberal' is appropriate to be applied to people who dislike racial profiling. You've mentioned that it's expedient to your article to use that descriptor, but not why it would be correct.


    Also, I don't think you've offered a fair explanation of liberal objection to racial profiling. Surely racial profiling is irrelevant when talking about islamic terrorism? Muslims aren't a racial group. People of all colours and nationalities are muslims. And equally, people who 'look muslim' often aren't. So, from a pragmatic standpoint, how would you racially profile them? I think this objection better explains why liberals are opposed to racial profiling; it's too indiscriminate.


    Finally, to say that the Koran isn't an influence on Islamic extremism isn't the same as saying environment isn't an influence. There are other elements of 'environment' beyond religion and religious text. Therefore, it's perfectly feasible for liberals to be able to say that exposure to the Koran isn't a cause of terrorism, but that other environmental factors are a cause.

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  52. Anonymous,

    I am aware that you are the same person who I had to ban from our discussion about the "genius" article, due to your refusal to respond to several points I made.

    If you also refuse to respond to my points in the current thread, I will ban you here as well.

    1)You write:

    "However, I can't see where you've explained why the term 'liberal' is appropriate to be applied to people who dislike racial profiling. You've mentioned that it's expedient to your article to use that descriptor, but not why it would be correct."

    I was very clear as to my reasoning, when I wrote:

    "The most accurate term may be to call such contradictory people “irrational”. But then my argument would have sounded funny.

    I would have been saying: Irrational people believe the environment is not a main factor in one scenario, then they contradict themselves and say that in a similar scenario the environment is a main factor.

    And some readers may have then said to me: So what? That's not surprising...they are irrational, it’s to be expected that they contradict themselves! What's your point?

    So, you can see why I felt the need to describe these people as liberals. "

    If you actually need me to explain why liberals, as opposed to conservatives, would dislike racial profiling, then there's no sense having this discussion. It should be obvious to those of modest intelligence.

    2)You write:

    "Also, I don't think you've offered a fair explanation of liberal objection to racial profiling. Surely racial profiling is irrelevant when talking about islamic terrorism? Muslims aren't a racial group. "

    First, I used the term "racial profiling" with the understanding that most people would understand what it means in regard to the type of profiling that it commonly refers to: profiling based on outwardly visible characteristics like race and religion.

    Pushing that aside, when you look only at a STRICT definition of racial profiling, my point still stands, and is accurate. Members of certain races or ethnicities are more likely to be muslims than members of other races. (ie., Arabs). Hence, selecting according to race offers predictive value in selecting for religion as well.

    3) You write:

    "Finally, to say that the Koran isn't an influence on Islamic extremism isn't the same as saying environment isn't an influence...Therefore, it's perfectly feasible for liberals to be able to say that exposure to the Koran isn't a cause of terrorism, but that other environmental factors are a cause."

    I disagree. It is not feasible to claim that other environmental stimulus tends to have an effect, yet also claim that regular exposure to readings and interpretations of the Koran tend NOT to have an effect. In fact, typical liberal cult-like ideas specifically highlight the effect of the direct environment, including peers. Peers communicate with people through words and ideas. Just like the Koran and imams do. It is not feasible.

    Regardless, you haven't provided any examples to support your point.

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  53. Okay, I'd better be a good boy and reply to all your points in that case. ;-)

    I'll also try to play nicely on this thread, please can you also try to do the same. I was a little discourteous in the other thread, so I'll apologise for that. I have to say, I still disagree with you, but that's not relevant here.


    1) I get why you used the term - it was expedient to your argument. However, it seems that you extend your argument without laying the foundations. You go from 'liberals dislike racial profiling', to 'liberals believe environmental factors don't influence terrorism' and through to 'therefore, liberals contradict themselves' without justifying your arguments fully.

    2) I agree with your definition of racial profiling - profiling based on outward appearance. That's just my point. There are an awful lot of African muslims for example. So do you then also have to include black people in your profiling? Also, take Pakistani Muslims - physically they're not very different looking to Indians, who are a) mostly Hindu, and b) far more numerous. In which case, are you looking for a needle in a haystack.

    3) I get what you're saying with regard to environmental influence. However, I think it's more of a cultural issue than a textual issue. There's plenty of smiting and eye-for-an-eye in the bible, for example, and I'm sure this is true of most religious texts. So why is Islamic terrorism a greater issue? Either the issue is largely driven by cultural based interpretation, or else the Koran must be far 'worse' in its influence.

    I think two things support the idea of it being a cultural influence - firstly, there are Christian groups, such as the Lords Resistance Army, who commit atrocities in the name of Christianity; they are drawing violent messages from a book that others see as offering a peaceful message. Secondly, if the Koran was that inherently corrupting, then you wouldn't have peaceful Muslims, unless your argument is that those Muslims are simply less religious.

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  54. Anonymous,

    1) You write:

    "I get why you used the term - it was expedient to your argument. "

    If you understood why I used the term "liberals", why did you also write:

    "However, I can't see where you've explained why the term 'liberal' is appropriate to be applied to people who dislike racial profiling."

    I'd say you seem to be contradicting yourself.

    You continue on to say that you feel I "extend your argument without laying the foundations."

    Ok, if you feel that way, then please point out where you think I haven't provided enough information to be convincing.

    2) You write:

    "There are an awful lot of African muslims for example. So do you then also have to include black people in your profiling? Also, take Pakistani Muslims - physically they're not very different looking to Indians, who are a) mostly Hindu, and b) far more numerous. In which case, are you looking for a needle in a haystack."

    There is an easy way to profile for terrorists. You look for Muslims. If it's not clear based on their religious garb, then you profile according to the next best criteria-their race, accent etc. You profile the races that have high levels of Muslims among them: Arabs and blacks with African accents. If you have access to travel documents, you can focus more on northern african countries where muslims are more concentrated.

    It really is that simple. If one was to claim that you can't use race to find Muslims, that's hogwash. Of course you can. Is it 100% foolproof? Of course not. But if there was a way to be 100% foolproof, why would you even need to profile and select people at all?

    The point is that you simply have to find a criteria that will, upon selection, find Muslims more often than not; or, you could even choose to profile races among which Muslims may not be in majority but still appear in concentrations higher than the proportion of Muslims in the USA (which is about 1-2%).

    As for people from India-most are Hindu, a large minority are Muslim. At that point, it's simply a matter of resources and benefits. If you find that enough of the Indians you take aside are not Muslim, and if that is resulting in taking away enough resources from searching other groups that ARE mostly Muslim, then the decision is easy: either hire more profilers, or shift resources to profiling groups with greater concentrations of Muslims.

    But if you are able to identify that a significant % (maybe 10-25%) of Indians are Muslims, that's a big chunk. Why throw away that opportunity to profile and save lives?

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  55. 3) You write:

    "However, I think it's more of a cultural issue than a textual issue. There's plenty of smiting and eye-for-an-eye in the bible, for example, and I'm sure this is true of most religious texts. So why is Islamic terrorism a greater issue? Either the issue is largely driven by cultural based interpretation, or else the Koran must be far 'worse' in its influence."

    Culture IS environment. Environmental influences are anything non genetic.

    Although there certainly is violence in the bible, I would suggest (although I'm not sure) that Islam is more violent, given that they have text that is not just violent or suggestive of violence, but is intolerant too: "take not a Christian or a Jew as a friend or defender". Those are pretty strong words.

    I would argue that the reasons Islam is far worse than christianity in terms of creating terrorists are as follows:

    Muslims not only seem to attend religious ceremonies more and are more aware of the violent verses that do exist, but they also seem more likely to know the text verse for verse. Hence, the schools that teach the Koran and no other subjects. The more people that read the violent verses and take them literally, the more terrorists you will have.

    And also, it's common to see imams preaching violence in the name of Islam, yet it's very rare to hear priests teach violence in the name of Christianity.

    And also, there is Shariah Muslim law, and apparently a goal of that is to dominate worldwide, not to coexist. Other aspects of Shariah are very controlling towards women when it comes to divorce, etc. I haven't ever heard that a main tenant of Christianity is to dominate the world. Even if the Bible does say that, you certainly don't hear that from many Priests in sermons.

    You write:

    "Secondly, if the Koran was that inherently corrupting, then you wouldn't have peaceful Muslims, unless your argument is that those Muslims are simply less religious. "

    That is incorrect. Most Muslims are peaceful. Some people are susceptible to engaging in a life of violence. The Koran and the culture surrounding it (imams, shariah etc). is the trigger for some people to engage in terrorism, yet most Muslims are strong enough and have enough common sense to know better.

    Another thing about Islam is the idea that someone will go to heaven to get virgins as a martyr. Does Christianity have the equivalent?

    Also, Islam allows men to have multiple wives. Christianity does not, as far as I know. It's certainly not common, regardless.

    This alone means that some Muslim men have many wives, meaning that there aren't enough women left for many men, who will have NO romance at all. That can cause frustration and aggression, and also, when you tempt someone like that, someone who may be a virgin, and tell them they may finally get women in heaven, there's the incentive for a terrorists. Remember, if men and women are about 50% of the population each, if many men have several wives, it's mathematically impossible for many men to have ANY wives at all.

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