Home / Robert Farley / Muslish!



Two updates to posts from last week. First, Colbert is absolutely brutal to Jennifer Rubin:

Second, Eli Lake has additional sourcing on the Georgia bombing. Two US intelligence officials describing a classified report ain’t gospel, but it’s a lot better than sole sourcing the story to the Georgian Ministry of the Interior. I suspect that the administration would prefer that the activities of the GRU not interfere with larger US-Russian relations, although of course the motives of individual intelligence officers will vary. If the US intelligence community believes that the GRU is responsible, them I’m inclined to give much more credence to the report. See also Spencer.

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  • Micheal

    the link to FXUK is broken ;(. Firefox reports that it does not know how deal with ‘hhttp’.

  • mark f

    I was flipping through the channels this morning and caught Bill O’Reilly interviewing Sally Quinn on the topic of the Norwegian guy’s Christianity. Somehow I did not kill myself and I stuck around long enough to hear O’Reilly explain that it doesn’t matter what the guy called himself, No True Christian would do what he did. Oddly enough, there was nothing about how O’Reilly gets just a little sharty when he sees someone in Christian garb so therefore nothing affiliated with the Unitarian Church should be allowed to be built in Oslo.

    • David Hunt

      I’ve never heard of a public figure so definitively exemplifying the No True Scotsman fallacy before. Like most things on Fox News, it would be funny if it wasn’t being broadcast to million of people on a “News” channel.

      • I’m not sure it’s a No True Scotsman fallacy, or at least not just that, so much as shifting definitions.

        O’Reilly uses “Muslim” to describe anyone who belongs to a billion-person group that self-identify as Muslims. He’d include terrorists from the Marxist, atheist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (the inventors of the suicide bombing) in this definition.

        But when it comes to “Christian,” he (at least at this moment) defines it much more narrowly, as people who believe and live their lives in accordance with a certain understanding of the teachings of Jesus (and, I’m guessing, the Vatican).

        • John F

          But when it comes to “Christian,” he (at least at this moment) defines it much more narrowly, as people who believe and live their lives in accordance with a certain understanding of the teachings of Jesus (and, I’m guessing, the Vatican).

          That’s how I define Christian- of course I regard the majority who self-define as Christian as not being Christian :-)
          Muslim? I dunno, if you self-define as Muslim I’ll regard you as Muslim, if you self-define as Hindu I’ll regard you as Hindu- It’s not my place to decide who is or who isn’t Muslim or Hindu, plus I don’t have enough knowledge of either faith

          WRT Christianity, I was raised Christian and went to Sunday School for a decade and have actually read the New Testament, I know what a Christian is and what isn’t. I know with as much certainty as I know anything that it is not possible to be a right-wing Republican and simultaneously be a [half decent] Christian

          • See, I can respect either definition – membership in a group, or adherence to a system – but I don’t like the double standard O’Reilly applies.

        • gmack

          Perhaps I misunderstand, but as far as I can tell, the “no True Scotsman fallacy” is precisely the activity of “shifting definitions.” It is the effort to define a particular group in such a way that by definition it cannot engage in the activity one is identifying; in this case, O’Reilly is re-defining “Christian” so that by definition a Christian cannot engage in the sort of violence we see Breivik committing. In any case, strictly speaking, this isn’t a “fallacy.” I think it is better understood as a kind of stupidity, or better, of straightforward rationalization and/or projection. Or if it is a fallacy, the “no true Scotsman” logic is only a variation on the fallacy of petitio principii (begging the question). O’Reilly is assuming as a premise (Christians don’t commit terroristic violence) what he needs to prove as a conclusion. Yet

          • What I mean by “shifting” is that he shifts from using one standard for Christian and another for Muslim.

        • David Hunt

          Funny story, jfl. I started to wonder whether My No True Scotsman analogy actually held up, so I looked up No True Scotsman on Wikipedia. I discovered that someone had placed the exact comment by BillO as an example of the fallacy as used in politics. I have no idea how long that will last as part of the wiki article, but I was comforted by not being the only one to make that connection.

          • cer

            Delightfully, it is still there. I would have thought that no true Christian would sexually harass his co-workers but apparently that whole coveting/adultery stuff was not a binding deal.

        • Left_Wing_Fox

          Er, to my knowledge, suicide bombings were first used by the Tamil Tigers.

          • There were suicide bombings in Lebanon before the first one by the Tamil Tigers.

            I can’t seem to find the source I read that identifies the PFLP as the originator, though.

            • so basically we’ll just go with what you said because you couldn’t possibly be wrong.

            • DrDick

              In all of the scholarly literature on the topic with which I am familiar, the Tamil Tigers are credited with this.

              • An Iranian child-soldier used a suicide bomb against a tank in 1981 – but suicidal attacks against military targets have been going on for centuries. Japanese soldiers in the Pacific used to sit in pits with an artillery shell and a hammer and wait for a tank to drive over them. I think we’re talking about suicide terrorism here.

                The LTTE’s first suicide bombing was in 1987.

                In 1981, the Islamic Dawa Party used a suicide car bomb against the Iraqi embassy, in what was the first suicide terrorism bombing.

                Here’s an interesting story about how the tactic actually migrated from Lebanon to Sri Lanka.

                Prof. PAPE: Well, in the 1980s, the Tamil Tigers were becoming the lead resistance group or independence movement on the island of Sri Lanka. And at this point in time, there was a little bit of, actually, a crossover between the Tamil Tigers and Hezbollah, that famous suicide terrorist group from Lebanon.

                And in 1983, there were actually several Tamil Tiger cadre, just a couple, who were training in some Hezbollah terrorist camps right at the moment that there was that spectacular suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Marines in Beirut that killed 241 Marines and that led Ronald Reagan, just a few months later, to pull all the U.S. troops out of Beirut.

                Well, a few years later, the head of the Tamil Tigers, Prabhakaran, decided to try to model an attack just after the Beirut suicide truck assassination. And in July 1987, the very first Tamil Tiger suicide attack occurred when a person by the name of Captain Miller drove a truck into a barracks of Sinhalese army troops who were sleeping, effectively trying to copy that attack. And that then set off the entire wave that came over the – over the next 20-something years.

                • Left_Wing_Fox

                  Thanks for the links.

                  I had originally heard the Tamil Tigers comment in regards to studies on suicide bombing correlating more strongly with occupation/invasion than with religion or Islam in particular. I must have confused the particulars.

                • As did I. Apparently, the PFLP pioneered the armed hijacking of Israeli planes, not the suicide bomb.

          • Hogan

            According to one of the links from the Wikipedia article, the LTTE “perfected” suicide bombing and pioneered the use of the suicide vest. It doesn’t say they invented suicide bombing.

            • Apparently, they invented the vests, but the suicide car-bomb was used earlier in Lebanon.

            • As does the FBI:

              As terrorist groups go, it has quite a résumé:

              Perfected the use of suicide bombers;
              Invented the suicide belt;

  • Anderson

    O’Reilly is of course correct, but alas, probably immune from drawing the same inference regarding “Muslims” who murder unarmed civilians in cold blood.

    • DrDick

      Islam, in contrast to Christianity, explicitly prohibits such behavior. Of course mass murder is actually as “Christian” as burning heretics and witches at the stake or Crusades.

      • OK, I give up: what part of “Thou shalt not murder” is not an explicit prohibition on killing innocent people?

        Of course mass murder is actually as “Christian” as burning heretics and witches at the stake or Crusades.

        And as Muslim as a suicide bombing. And as Shinto as the Rape of Nanking. And as atheist as a 1930s purge.

        • Mass murder is as atheist as the Katyn Forest Massacre.

          • Joe

            The OT says God supported various wars, including those where women and children died. The term “innocent” must be somewhat narrow.

            In fact, “murder” is not merely the killing of an innocent person. Manslaughter isn’t “murder.” Nor is killing someone, quite innocent in most respects, who unknowingly is imminently endangering my life.

            I do take your meaning in the respect the provision seems to at least (as does various things Jesus said, probably) prevent killing in “cold blood” but since that is a pretty high test (cf. just war, which can kill lots of innocents), I’m not sure how helpful that is.

            • And the Koran says that God supported various wars, too, including those in which women and children died.

              And yet, both books also include prohibitions on that behavior.

              It’s the old saw about the devil quoting scripture.

              • Joe

                Wasn’t judging the Koran there and whatever provision is referenced by the original person probably has wiggle room just as the Ot and NT does.

                • I don’t think it’s a question of wiggle room in the prohibition.

                  It’s a different set of passages that appear to contradict each other.

                  Sort of like “All men are created equal and entitled to certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” vs. “all persons bound to labor.” The Declaration of Independence quote is as definitive as you could like.

              • DrDick

                What the Koran prohibits, and the Bible does not, is the killing of non-combatants. As others have noted, the same God who gave the ten commandments shortly thereafter demanded the genocide of the Canaanites. The commandment only applied to other Hebrews.

          • Not to say it’s all sweetness and light but there isn’t an atheist ethics book and there’s never been a war in the name of atheism. The True Atheist could be any number of reprehensible or, um, saintly characters.

            • I’m not impressed by what wars are being waged “in the name of.” It’s usually a fraud.

              Anyway, I’m not saying that atheism is the cause of wars and evil, just that it sure as hell isn’t the solution.

              • That’s sort of my point. It’s not an ethical standard so True Scotsmen arguments don’t work for it in ethical arguments.

            • rea

              there’s never been a war in the name of atheism

              I can think of a number of militantly atheistic societies-mostly communist, but also the revolutionary French. Most of them fought wars against their ideological enemies.

              • Sure. But there weren’t atheists urging people to kill ’em all and let nothing sort ’em out.

              • dave

                Robespierre? Festival of the Supreme Being? Atheism was never the official policy of the revolutionary French, even if for a few months ‘dechristianisers’ got off the leash.

                And try telling a Marxist that their politics are really an argument with God…

        • Njorl

          Most of the Judeo-Christian prohibitions applied only to those within the community in ancient times. Joshua’s actions (as described in the bible) upon entering the promised land were certainly mass murder by modern standards, but were not murder at all by ancient standards.

          Thankfully, the vast majority of religious people have adopted modern morality, and consider all people as part of a greater community. There are exceptions, but those people would probably find some other excuse for killing if they couldn’t find some archaic justification for it in a religious text.

          • Most of the Judeo-Christian prohibitions applied only to those within the community in ancient times.

            This is actually one of the major changes in doctrine associated with the New Testament. The parable of the Good Samaritan is meant to make this exact point about moral strictures applying to those outside of one’s own community.

            Which is not to say that that development is unique to Christianity. The Jewish texts of the early Common Era make this leap as well.

            • Njorl

              Right. I think of “Ancient” times ending around 500 BC, and “Classical” times beginning. There’s probably no basis for that nomenclature other than playing too much Civilization IV.

              • Marek

                Sure as hell beats Wikipedia as a source!

    • mark f

      O’Reilly’s argument for why the Ground Zero Mosque* should not built was, (1) he gets nervous when he sees Muslims, and (2) “They killed us on 9/11!” That was my point; his show would be very different if the guy’s name had a “bin” or an “al” in it.

      *Standard disclaimer about it not being a mosque nor being at what used to be called “Ground Zero.”

  • Malaclypse

    Pope Urban II called. The One True Corpse of Irony has been captured in Jerusalem. Sadly, the Corpse was destroyed after taking refuge in a synagogue, which was then put to the torch, along with seven hundred Jews that were also inside.

    • Hogan

      Call me when it’s time to sack Constantinople. Goddamn Orthodox heretics.

      • Malaclypse

        Look, it was the damn Romans who inserted the filioque clause into the Nicene Creed, overturning 689 years of tradition.

        • Hogan

          Hey, if you’re going to have a Trinity, it’s essential to have it make as little sense as possible. Plus, you know, infallible.

          • Malaclypse

            Plus, you know, infallible.

            The Pope was not infallible until 1870. Before that, there was a constant stream of fuckups. God was getting pissed, I tell you what. Almost pulled their ISO 9000 certification out from under them. Pius IX had to call in a lot of favors…

            • Hogan

              Oh please. Next you’ll be telling me that the Blessed Virgin Mary wasn’t immaculately conceived until 1870.

              • Malaclypse

                In a world where the Blessed Virgin Mary can get immaculately conceived, I can easily posit time travel to take care of this dilemma. Because really, time travel is the least inconceivable thing in that scenario.

  • p j

    This segment alone illustrates why Colbert and his writers are by far the funniest and most on point of any of the fake or real news outlets.

    • Ken

      You can always tell when Colbert is really angry about something. Utterly straight, with no smirks or breaks, and cutting.

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