Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Balko points out something I did not know, that the source of the idiotic claim that Malcolm X is Barack Obama’s real father is none other than Pamela “Sarah Palin didn’t quit, the lower 48 needed her and she answered the call” Geller. She printed a breathlessly moronic email from one of her readers making that very claim without bothering to point out how stupid it was.

When called on it, she then said that she didn’t believe that particular part of it but printed it anyway without pointing out that she didn’t believe it:

The “Atlas says that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child” charge has gone viral among leftards and lizards. The only problem with it is that it is false. I am not the author of this post, and I posted it because the writer did a spectacular job documenting Obama’s many connections with the Far Left. The Malcolm X claim is one minor part of this story, and was of interest to me principally as part of the writer’s documentation that Stanley Ann Dunham could not have been where the Obama camp says she was at various times. I do not believe that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child, and never did — but there remain many, many unanswered questions about his early life and upbringing.

But I disagree with a quote that Balko provides from Alex Knapp. In a profile of Geller, it says:

She spent the next year educating herself about Islam, reading Bat Ye’or, a French writer who focuses on tensions over Muslim immigrants in Europe; Ibn Warraq, the pseudonym for a Pakistani who writes about his rejection of Islam; and Daniel Pipes, whom she ultimately rejected because he believes in the existence of a moderate Islam.

And Knapp responds:

This is grotesque to me. It’s like saying that that someone spent a year educating themselves about Christianity, reading Chrisopher Hitchens, an English writer who wrote articles focusing on the “crimes against humanity” of Mother Teresa, Friedrich Nietzsche, a former seminary student who wrote at length about his rejection of Christianity, and Sam Harris, whom they ultimately rejected because he believes in the existence of moderate Christianity.

If you put that in a profile of an anti-Christian blogger, you would know immediately that they’re a fraud and simply not worth listening to.

Nonsense. Ibn Warraq, at the very least, is very much worth listening to if one wants to learn about Islam. He brings a rationalist, skeptical perspective to the task of understanding Islam, something that is enormously valuable and quite rare (most strident criticism of Islam comes from Christians who are incapable of recognizing that most of their arguments apply as well to their own religion at least to some degree).

You do not learn about a religion by reading the opinions of only its adherents. Indeed, you would learn far more by reading the critics than the converts.