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Name: Paul
Gender: Male
Hometown: Florida
Home country: USA
Member since: Wed Mar 31, 2010, 03:20 PM
Number of posts: 3,829

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World support for violence against civilians (the US leads):


While the majority of world citizens agree that military attacks targeting civilians are never justified, a decade after 9/11, there is a wide range in the level of support for this view. A clear majority in Asia and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) find military attacks against civilians unacceptable. This is not surprising considering the acute conflicts raging in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and other parts of the Middle East.

In contrast, regionally, residents of the U.S. and Canada are most likely to say that military attacks against civilians are sometimes justified. Americans are the most likely population in the world (49%) to believe military attacks targeting civilians is sometimes justified, followed by residents of Haiti and Israel (43%).


It's probably impossible for a non-conscious machine to ever behave as a human.

Conscious critters are feelings driven, which requires consciousness. Feelings cause brains to force themselves to think, do, learn, act as one, and remember. Probably this is why consciousness evolved. Complex animated life may be impossible without consciousness.

I doubt if it will be possible to ever create a conscious machine. If it ever happens, it will be a very long time in the future. Scientists would have to figure out a way to artificially evolve consciousness.

That's one big old straw man.

First thing, I'm an atheist. I specifically said I'm condeming "new atheists" which is a particular movement.

On DU, many of us don't like it when people engage in blanket hatred of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims. That's just plain old bigotry.


Examples of "new atheist" bigotry:

Here's professional liar, "new atheist" and neocon darling, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an employee at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI):


During an interview published on Friday by Israel HaYom, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israeli daily, public intellectual and author Ayan Hirsi Ali claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for waging the ongoing military campaign by the IDF against Hamas militants in Gaza.

Asked whom she admired, Ali — who once called Islam a “nihilistic cult of death” — included Netanyahu on a list featuring her husband, Harvard professor Niall Ferguson, as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Princeton professor Bernard Lewis. Ali said she admired Netanyahu “because he is under so much pressure, from so many sources, and yet he does what is best for the people of Israel, he does his duty.”

“I really think he should get the Nobel Peace Prize,” Ali added. “In a fair world he would get it.”

Here's an interview of Ayaan Hirsi Ali:


Reason: Should we acknowledge that organized religion has sometimes sparked precisely the kinds of emancipation movements that could lift Islam into modern times? Slavery in the United States ended in part because of opposition by prominent church members and the communities they galvanized. The Polish Catholic Church helped defeat the Jaruzelski puppet regime. Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?

Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.

Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.

Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?

Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

Reason: Militarily?

Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.

Reason: Are we really heading toward anything so ominous?

While Sam Harris was interviewing openly racist and neocon promoter, Douglas Murray, on his podcast, Sam Harris said:


"Given a choice between Noam Chomsky and Ben Carson, in terms of the totality of their understanding of what’s happening now in the world, I’d vote for Ben Carson every time. Ben Carson is a dangerously deluded religious imbecile, Ben Carson does not…the fact that he is a candidate for president is a scandal…but at the very least he can be counted on to sort of get this one right. He understands that jihadists are the enemy."

Sample of Sam Harris quotes:


Let's play "Harris or Malkin?":

"Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death."

"Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense. This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas."

"I am one of the few people I know of who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror."

"The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists."

"To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization. We are at war with Islam. It may not serve our immediate foreign policy objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge this fact, but it is unambiguously so. It is not merely that we are at war with an otherwise peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists. We are at war with precisely the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran.”

"We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it."

"Unless liberals realize that there are tens of millions of people in the Muslim world who are far scarier than Dick Cheney, they will be unable to protect civilization from its genuine enemies."

"In their analyses of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, liberals can be relied on to overlook the most basic moral distinctions. For instance, they ignore the fact that Muslims intentionally murder noncombatants, while we and the Israelis (as a rule) seek to avoid doing so (LIE). Muslims routinely use human shields, and this accounts for much of the collateral damage we and the Israelis cause; the political discourse throughout much of the Muslim world, especially with respect to Jews, is explicitly and unabashedly genocidal."

"We cannot let our qualms over collateral damage paralyze us because our enemies know no such qualms. Theirs is a kill-the-children-first approach to war, and we ignore the fundamental difference between their violence and our own at our peril. Given the proliferation of weaponry in our world, we no longer have the option of waging this war with swords. It seems certain that collateral damage, of various sorts, will be a part of our future for many years to come."

The US deliberately seeks out and arms the worst elements in the Middle East.

Most of the Middle East had been much more secular and peaceful.

The US armed the fundies to fight the commies. Most of the crazies were concentrated in US supported Saudi Arabia. The US very much helped spread the ideology. With the constant US brutalization of the entire region, that set up an environment where conservative religious views can much more easily spread.

The US also arms and supports the most brutal leaders, including supporting Saddam in his unprovoked war against Iran. The US helped in the creation of Iraq's chemical weapons program and supplied the intelligence on how to employ the chemical weapons against Iran, the very same Iran that the US had overthrown their secular leader and installed the brutal Shah.

The US helps in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and Israel's brutalization of all of Israel's neighbors.

This “three-decade war for domination of the Middle East” becomes apparent when we consider how many Muslim countries the peace-loving United States and her “stalwart ally” Israel have bombed:...

Under Barack Obama, the U.S. is currently bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. According to some reports (see here and here), we can add Iran to this ever-expanding list. [Update: An Informed Comment reader named Shannon pointed out that in fact the United States bombed Iran in 1988 during Operating Praying Mantis, an act that “cannot be justified” according to the International Court of Justice.]

Thanks to American arms and funding, our “stalwart ally” Israel has bombed every single one of its neighbors, including Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Israel has also bombed Tunisia and Iraq (how many times can Americans and Israelis bomb this country?).

The total number of Muslim countries that America and Israel have bombed comes to fourteen: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia.

This is something approaching genocide.

Selfishness is the source of all evil in this world.

It would be nice if some people would consider the rights of Americans to not be murdered so some selfish asses can have their stupid guns.

How can anybody support an activity that causes so much harm to the innocent? – pure selfishness.

Nobody, religions are objectively wrong and from just what you wrote there

you just despise religion. Nothing is wrong with that, as long as you keep it in perspective, meaning, you don't think religion is the main cause of evil in this world or that people from certain parts of the world are inferior to others.

Evil comes from selfishness, though religion does make a good rationalization for selfishness and evil: create your own god that supports your own positions and then claim god support your positions. It's a good scam for some people.

Most evil is not closely related to religion and religious motivated evil is no more wrong than evil motivated by other rationalizations. There are a lot of a good people in this world (religious and not) mixed in when some not so good people (religious and not). This is universal.

I remember that, now that you mention it.

It was one of his better moments. As far as I know, he stuck to the WMD's story to the very end, which is rare.

I'm a big fan of atheism as far as it atheism goes, but since atheism is just the lack of belief in gods, that leaves a lot of potential to have widely divergent views in many issues, and a lot of potential for some not always rational but rather zealous people to grab a lot of undeserved attention for themselves.

I first noticed this is the alleged "humanist" movement. There are quite a few rather pro-war folks that like to call themselves "humanist." I used to subscribe to the Free Inquiry magazine, a publication of the Council for Secular Humanism. I thought it had potent.

Christopher Hitchens happened to write for the magazine. Paul Kurtz was editor in chief. In the magazine, Paul Kurtz openly supported the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinians at Israel's birth. He also promoted Alan Dershowitz in the magazine, a self-proclaimed "humanist" and actual sociopath. I also listened to a podcast of Paul Kurtz's "humanist" organization once, and the guy who did the podcast explicitly said that he liked war.

I think any movement that self-proclaims they are morally superior almost inevitably is the opposite. They may start out good, but the crazies tend to take over, drunk on their self-proclaimed superiority.

A movement that produces, defends, and promotes such characters as Sam Harris

and Christopher Hitchens is deeply flawed.

The self-definition of a "truther" is going to be very different than what a "truther" is in reality. A new atheist will identify himself very differently than an outside critic that recognizes what they are really about in practice.

"New atheists" way over-estimate the importance of not believing in a god and not possessing a religion. They don't understand the dominant sources of evil in this world. They are very dismissive towards those that believe differently, often dehumanizing believers in the process. They are often very full of themselves.

This out-of-proportion belief in the importance of atheism, like any other similar irrational belief, can lead in dangerous directions. The high percentage of those that support and defend extreme evil actions in the "new atheist" movement is evidence of that.

I wouldn't call PZ Myers a "new atheist".

This could be a word definition issue, but many people divide atheists between liberal (progressive) atheists (DU types) and "new atheists" which tend to support bigotry and war.

PZ MYers and Sam Harris aren't fans of each other.

From PZ Myers just a couple days ago:


As expected, every time I highlight some reactionary idiocy from Sam Harris, I wake up to a chorus of his fan boys urgently typing at me to tell me the rallying cry of the Harrisites everywhere: HE DIDN’T REALLY SAY THAT. Yeah, he did. He really does prefer Republican nutjob Ted Cruz over any of those ‘leftists’ he despises on foreign policy, because Muslims.

But at least it was Cruz, right? He didn’t say anything nice about Ben Carson, I would hope? Sorry to break your illusions, but another reader also told me I had to listen to his recent interview with British neocon, Douglas Murray. He was kind and told me I could skip almost all of it, and just zip up to the 1:56 mark.

"Given a choice between Noam Chomsky and Ben Carson, in terms of the totality of their understanding of what’s happening now in the world, I’d vote for Ben Carson every time. Ben Carson is a dangerously deluded religious imbecile, Ben Carson does not…the fact that he is a candidate for president is a scandal…but at the very least he can be counted on to sort of get this one right. He understands that jihadists are the enemy."

Yeah, that’s right. Ben Carson is a religious imbecile, but according to Harris, he’s better qualified than some damn leftist on the basis of his foreign policy expertise, which consists of hating Islam almost as much as Sam Harris does.

Douglas Murray is the one that Sam Harris interviewed on his podcast:

Neo Conservatism: Why We Need It is a defense of the most controversial political philosophy of our era. Douglas Murray takes a fresh look at the movement that replaced Great-Society liberalism, helped Ronald Reagan bring down the Wall, and provided the intellectual rationale for the Bush administration's War on Terror. While others are blaming it for foreign policy failures and, more extremely, attacking it as a Jewish cabal, Murray argues that the West needs Neo-conservatism more than ever. In addition to explaining what Neo conservatism is and where it came from, he argues that this American-born response to the failed policies of the 1960s is the best approach to foreign affairs not only for the United States but also for Britain and the West as well.

Douglas Murray is British and he complains about all the brown immigrants to Great Britain, which is expected for someone Sam Harris supports since Sam Harris has said: "The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization."

But since Sam Harris has said and believes: "Unless liberals realize that there are tens of millions of people in the Muslim world who are far scarier than Dick Cheney, they will be unable to protect civilization from its genuine enemies." some white fascist doesn't seem that bad.


Yea, there is a battle between the neocon "new atheists" represented by Sam Harris and others

and the liberal (progressive) atheists represented by Cenk Uygur and others. The neocon atheists certainly swarm all of Cenk Uygur's videos criticizing Sam Harris, including this one. They think Muslims are subhuman.

Sam Harris blames the Iraqis for the failure of our unprovoked war against them:

The war in Iraq, while it may be exacerbating the conflict between Islam and the West, is a red herring. However mixed or misguided American intentions were in launching this war, civilized human beings are now attempting, at considerable cost to themselves, to improve life for the Iraqi people. The terrible truth about our predicament in Iraq is that even if we had invaded with no other purpose than to remove Saddam Hussein from power and make Iraq a paradise on earth, we could still expect tomorrow’s paper to reveal that another jihadi has blown himself up for the sake of killing scores of innocent men, women, and children. The outrage that Muslims feel over U.S. and British foreign policy is primarily the product of theological concerns. Devout Muslims consider it a sacrilege for infidels to depose a Muslim tyrant and occupy Muslim lands—no matter how well intentioned the infidels or malevolent the tyrant. Because of what they believe about God and the afterlife and the divine provenance of the Koran, devout Muslims tend to reflexively side with other Muslims, no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This is solidarity born of religious delusion, and it must end—or a genuine clash of civilizations will be unavoidable.
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