Pharyngula

Talk fast, we might be criminalized

The UN has passed an absurd resolution that tries to make defamation of religion illegal. No more blasphemy for us!

At least a Canadian spokesman has the right idea.

“Canada rejects the basic premise that religions have rights; human rights belong to human beings,” said Catherine Loubier, spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

“The focus (here) should not be on protecting religions, but rather on protecting the rights of the adherents of religions, including of people belonging to religious minorities, or people who may choose to change their religion, or not to practice religion at all.”

Christopher Hitchens also makes strong points (you’ll have to listen to the odious Lou Dobbs to hear him, unfortunately).

Comments

  1. #1 Paper Hand
    February 26, 2009

    I agree entirely. I always say “I respect people, not beliefs”.

  2. #2 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    “The focus (here) should not be on protecting religions, but rather on protecting the rights of the adherents of religions, including of people belonging to religious minorities, or people who may choose to change their religion, or not to practice religion at all.”

    Exactly.

  3. #3 EatenByChutulu
    February 26, 2009

    Goooooo Canada! Woohoo & goddammit!

  4. #4 NotExcessive
    February 26, 2009

    Protect religions from criticism??? ARE THEY FUCKING NUTS???

  5. #5 J Myers
    February 26, 2009

    The “three major religions” are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism? I think there about a billion Hindus who just might disagree.

  6. #6 Ken Cope
    February 26, 2009

    H. L. Mencken:

    ?We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.?

    And when Mencken used the word theory, I’m presuming that he used it in the anti-Asimovian sense: “…as though a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.?

  7. #7 Kaddath
    February 26, 2009

    It seems the UN can’t find more ways of saying “look we’re truly irrelevant and useless”. Fuck the UN and religion.

  8. #8 NewEnglandBob
    February 26, 2009

    Lets start a petition to declare the UN to be illegal, irrelevant, ignorant and defamatory on human dignity.

  9. #9 Wowbagger
    February 26, 2009

    I can’t go to prison – I’m too pretty!

  10. #10 Stephanurus
    February 26, 2009

    Why do you say that Lou Dobbs is “odious”? Opinionated, yes. Tongue-tied sometimes, yes. But he usually agrees with me and therefore I hardly consider him odious. BTW–a big rave for Canada!!!
    Stephanurus

  11. #11 'Tis Himself
    February 26, 2009

    NE Bob,

    I’m making one minor change to your post #8:

    Lets start a petition to declare the UN religion to be illegal, irrelevant, ignorant and defamatory on human dignity.

  12. #12 Sauve
    February 26, 2009

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

    Of course, the bill is lead by Pakistan, where 75% of the women in prison are in prison for being raped.

  13. #13 Sam
    February 26, 2009

    I find it interesting that while the motion was originally proposed to cover just islam it has now been extended to all religions yet the only religion discussed in any depth is islam…. ah well

    anyway i declare myself to be following the religion “your religion is non-sensical mumbo-jumbo that helps perpetrates bigotry and hate” critise that if you want…

  14. #14 Twin-Skies
    February 26, 2009

    Ironically, the first people most likely to get hit with this bill will be Christian and Islamic Fundamentalists given the amount of bull they’ve been lobbing at each other all these years.

    They’re the very same people who probably concoted this crap bill in the first place.

  15. #15 Aquaria
    February 26, 2009

    Ya gotta wonder if someone had said that Christians were pushing this resolution, people wouldn’t get upset.

    It’s a fucking shame that the only reason Lou Dobbs would cover this is because the Moos-lims are pushing it. He really needs to fix that racist slip that always manages to show, no matter what he wears.

  16. #16 Fernando Magyar
    February 26, 2009

    ?A defamatory statement . . . is more than just an offensive one. It is also a statement that is false.?

    Well then, since I, as an atheist and a citizen of the world, personally find all religions to be offensive, wouldn’t that criminalize just about every current and past statement that has ever been uttered in the name of any religion?

    Oh, never mind, non believers are not entitled to basic human rights nor are they afforded any protections under the auspices of the United Nations.

    Fuck all the holy spooks.

  17. #17 Cokehead
    February 26, 2009

    #10 Stephanurus:

    He’s opinionated, yes, and while that’s appreciated, he’s generally taken position against atheists and has taken many illogitcal and sometimes radical positions. Plus, he’s sort of a gasbag..

    The only time he really seems to talk about freedom and constitutionality is in cases like these, when a christian won’t be able to express their belief. He’s fairly silent on any time an atheist’ speech is stifled.

  18. #18 Sot
    February 26, 2009

    Man the UN can kiss my ass.

  19. #19 Murray
    February 26, 2009

    I’m not very familiar with Lou Dobbs. I agree with pretty much everything he says here. What makes him odious? (I don’t watch a lot of TV, plus I’m in Canada).

  20. #20 Cameron
    February 26, 2009

    I’m writing a letter to my MP(Member of Parliament to those of you south of border) regarding both the ridiculousness and the harm of this resolution.

  21. #21 SoMG
    February 26, 2009

    So I’m not allowed to indulge in defamation of religion. What about defecation of religion? Is that still OK?

  22. #22 Cokehead
    February 26, 2009

    Also, it somewhat irritated me that this was referred to as a ‘UN’ action. This is as much a UN statement as Senator Steven’s “The internet is a series of tubes” is a statement from congress. The countries pushing it are the ones responsible for this terrible resolution – not the US.

    #19: For shame – did you even notice he just sort of assumed that it was theocratic/dictatorial nations that are pushing this resolution, without any facts to back such a claim? This would be enough to find him ‘odious,’ in my opinion.

  23. #23 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    Ironically, the first people most likely to get hit with this bill will be Christian and Islamic Fundamentalists given the amount of bull they’ve been lobbing at each other all these years.

    That could be the upside of this. If religious fundamentalists can’t garner hate against other religions, then a lot of the problems of sectarian conflict will be solved. Then again, that means they’ll compensate by hating more on the gays and the atheists. I really pity those poor gay-atheists that exist in my hypothetical construct of the future under this ruling.

  24. #24 timebender13
    February 26, 2009

    Normally, I’m all for the UN, but this…. What are they thinking? All this will do is make the situation worse! People will blame Muslims and the whole situation will only get worse!

  25. #25 spgreenlaw
    February 26, 2009

    re: Lou Dobbs

    He uses his show to spout anti-immigrant rhetoric that is often racist and very frequently false as well. Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales did a proper take down of him on Democracy Now! a while back. Check it out here:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2007/12/4/fact_checking_dobbs_cnn_anchor_lou

  26. #26 Anonymous Coward
    February 26, 2009

    I’m lost for words. How did this happen? This is the twenty-first century for crying out loud…
    And how come the local newspapers and channels don’t report this? Why do I have to learn this from here?

  27. #27 Stephanurus
    February 26, 2009

    I must have missed Lou Dobbs’ speaking against atheists. I’ll watch for that. But he is against ILLEGAL immigration, not the immigrants themselves. I don’t think he is racist. Being against ILLEGAL immigration does not, of itself, make him racist.
    Stephanurus

  28. #28 Mbee
    February 26, 2009

    OK well if their religion has rights so do Atheists.
    I don’t believe atheism is a religion but in this case it is.
    Why should my belief of what life is about be any different from Christians, Muslims or Hindus. My belief is just as important as theirs so if they want to call it a religion so be it. If I have to respect their religion then they have to respect mine – that’s only fair!

  29. #29 Cokehead
    February 26, 2009

    #27 Stephanurus

    True, illegal immigration is easy to rally against. He’s just thrown his support hastily behind some fairly radical propositions to ‘solve’ the problem (i.e. big fence at the border). Any solution that involves amnesty he attacks fairly viciously against.

    Personally, I’m very much against illegal immigration in any form, and the ~12 million or so in this country should not be here at all.

    That said, it’s impossible to just round up all 12 million illegal immigrants and send them back without making mistakes – and that assumes you could really find them!

    A better solution would be to force companies to pay minimum wage for them, while still actively seeking to prevent most illegal immigration. The idea is this: As an employer, do you want an english-only speaker, or a spanish-only speaker? They cost the same after my theoretical bill is passed. You’d really only accept the spanish-speaker if there were no english-speakers around for that job.

    But anyway, I ramble. I agree with Dobb’s sentiment here, I just sort of wish he’d apply this logic more broadly.

  30. #30 Geoff
    February 26, 2009

    As a Canadian, I’m both happy and somewhat surprised that a Canadian spokesperson has seen the forest through the trees. Let’s hope that we can separate the freedom of ideas from the freedom of a people’s right to not be offended. We can’t exactly claim the high ground with regards to freedom of speech, but that was nice to hear.

  31. #31 Dr. Moonbeam
    February 26, 2009

    Blasphemy is a victimless “crime”, goddamnit. No point in making it illegal.

    You’d think, if there were a god, it could defend itself, but apparently its followers think it’s too impotent to do so.

  32. #32 spgreenlaw
    February 26, 2009

    Stephanurus,

    Read the transcript at the Democracy Now link I posted. He’s given uncritical airspace to prominent hate groups. Just being against illegal immigration isn’t racist, no. But he goes well beyond that.

  33. #33 SteveC
    February 26, 2009

    I’m probably misunderstanding something here, but isn’t the U.S. one of the five members of the U.N. with veto power?

    Or is that veto power only extant over resolutions of the security council?

  34. #34 MikeA
    February 26, 2009

    Please tell me Australia was in the group against this.

  35. #35 hje
    February 26, 2009

    This must be a terrible dilemma for the evangelicals. On the one hand, they would love this kind of restriction of free speech to become the law in America. On the other hand they consider the UN to be the tool of the antichrist, hellbent on subjugating America.

  36. #36 robotaholic
    February 26, 2009

    Fuck Islam! I fucking HATE religion

  37. #37 Cokehead
    February 26, 2009

    #34 MikeA

    I wouldn’t be so sure. After all, this resolution would just make it easier to filter more of your internet access, and that’d be just dandy.

  38. #38 Dave H
    February 26, 2009

    @#33:

    This is a subcommittee of the General Assembly doing this stupid shit. Thus, the veto (which you are correct about) is useless.

  39. #39 MikeA
    February 26, 2009

    #37 Cokehead

    Luckly it looks like this censorship business is going to die.

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2009/02/26/1235237810486.html

  40. #40 Marcus Ranum
    February 26, 2009

    Does this make distributing bibles (since they contain hate speech against nonbelievers) and korans (since they contain hate speech against nonbelivers) a crime? By any standard you want to choose, each of the world’s holy books blasphemes against the others because they each claim they are the only truth (thereby implying the others are mendacious).

    Normally it’s fun to spin different kinds of woo woos at eachother and watch them argue but we need to be careful with the godly – when they get to debating religion amongst eachother, it results in piles of dead people.

  41. #41 Cokehead
    February 26, 2009

    #39 MikA

    Nicely done. And here I thought the world was going to lose another democratic country filled with beautiful women..

    Anyway, I’d still watch for it – it took quite a long time for a privacy invasion this excessive to be killed. Only after legal advice did one senator oppose it – I find that worrying.

    Temper my concern, though, with my lack of knowledge of your governmental system, ha.

  42. #42 raven
    February 26, 2009

    The most common “defamers of religion” are the fundies.

    They hate the Moslems.

    Many of them hate the Jews.

    They hate other xians, especially the heretical Mormons and of course the Catholics. The RCC is the church of the satan and the Pope is the antichrist.

    They hate atheists and agnostics.

    Many of them hate other Death Cults. In fact, they are very good at just sort of hating long lists of things, gays, Democrats, nonwhites, catholics, scientists, MDs, and on and on. Fortunately, I doubt the UN will get too far invading trailer parks in the south central USA.

  43. #43 ArchangelChuck
    February 26, 2009

    Since when did we ever listen to the United Nations? What a bunch of worthless morons.

  44. #44 Lindsey
    February 26, 2009

    So this raises the question: what about people within the same religion who have different ideas about what is orthodox? Are shi’a criticisms of Sunni islam now illegal? I can’t even imagine the chaos within a religion, let alone how it would effect the rest of us.

  45. #45 GBM
    February 26, 2009

    @ 31

    Good point–I wonder if one could (assuming that this pile of excrement passes/is adopted by member countries) mount a legal challenge on the grounds that the law itself is blasphemous thus illegal by it’s own lights

  46. #46 Boletus
    February 26, 2009

    This piece is transparent propaganda. It’s actually an anti-UN piece disguised as a freedom of speech story. Dobbs’ “patience with the United Nations is ending” because the UN is arrogant enough to want to impose rules on member nations. Well, that’s just silly. The UN does and should impose standards of behaviour on members, as HItchens rightly points out mid-way through the interview. The UN Charter of Human rights is one good example. The USA, Russia and China all hate the charter — largely because they can be held to account for their various war crimes. This story acts to plant the idea in the minds of American yokels that the UN is irrelevant and run by crazy Islamofascists. Rubbish.

    As the for resolution itself, countries whose legal code derives from the British one, such as Canada do in fact have “adequate protection” under the law for religions — that is, they have anti-hate speech laws. In Canada if one advocates violence toward an identifiable group — including Muslims, Jews, gays, or whoever — one is guilty of hate speech. That’s all the protection religious groups get and all they deserve. So, in effect, Canada is already compliant with the “adequate protection” clause of the proposed UN bill. End of story.

  47. #47 Ken Cope
    February 26, 2009

    Tom Lehrer:

    Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
    And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
    And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
    And everybody hates the Jews.

    But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
    It’s National Everyone-smile-at-one-another-hood Week.
    Be nice to people who
    Are inferior to you.
    It’s only for a week, so have no fear.
    Be grateful that it doesn’t last all year!

  48. #48 TheEngima32
    February 26, 2009

    It should be said that if this does pass, then the ICJ will be the ones to enforce. The ICJ can only enforce World Laws in nations that are members of the ICJ – the United States is not a member, and has not been one since 1970 something, I think. That means this is just a bunch of hot air – unless you have plans to travel to a country where they are members of the ICJ. Then you’re screwed.

    Still, this is an appalling law. As a Deist who makes his living destroying Religion, I want to see this either die a painful death in the General Assembly or see the sensible nations of the world pull out of the U.N. if it passes, stripping it of most of it’s authority. Failing that, I’ll announce Deism as a religion and say that having Holy Texts offends my religious sensibilities because it’s a form of icon worship. :P

    Enigma

  49. #49 S. Athridge
    February 26, 2009

    Disgusting, abhorrent, and truly frightening. For once I’m glad the United States is perpetually telling the world to fuck off.

  50. #50 Peter McKellar
    February 27, 2009

    MikeA #34

    Yes, Australia did vote against this bill. It is non-binding.

  51. #51 Thor
    February 27, 2009

    Does anyone have a link to the actual resolution, I can’t find it on the UN website.

    I’m really keen to find a list of the nations who voted for this crazyness.

  52. #52 Jolo
    February 27, 2009

    Really it is a case of Europe and the First world countries against the rest. You can see the results here.

    On Canada, if you ever go to the web site UN Watch you will see that Canada stands alone many times on the Human Rights council, and are chastised for it…

  53. #53 Andrew JS
    February 27, 2009

    I have never been so disgusted with the UN ever. I like how the Saudi King wants to hold interfaith conferences with people like the Pope even though if the Pope were do to this thing on a street in Jeddah he would be put to death. Now, I’m not standing up for the Pope either, but it disgusts me how everyone is eating this up. At least Canada has the balls to stand up to these nuts, surprising under a Harper government.

  54. #54 Pikemann Urge
    February 27, 2009

    Cokehead #29: spot on!! So well said.

  55. #55 SD
    February 27, 2009

    how come so many countries did not bother voting? Proud to be Canadian, but we’re really only one vote. In any case, if the majority wanted to bring back slavery, would it be the right thing?

    I thought we’d learn from the religious intolerance and multiple wars over the centuries. Maybe we deserve to wipe ourselves off this great planet.

    I normally have respect for the UN, they do a lot of great work but this is becoming a circus.

  56. #56 Thor
    February 27, 2009

    Hmm Jolo your links don’t work for me, I’ll check out UN Watch right now though.

  57. #57 Vestrati
    February 27, 2009

    There is nothing I would like more after a hard day’s work than to sit down and turn on CNN. As long as Lou Dobbs remains on the air that just can’t happen. I agree with him on a few things, but man, he’s so obnoxious. If there was a World’s Biggest Douche award, he’d be a front runner.

    This whole affair is just going to end up undermining the UN even more. Unfortunately, I just don’t feel the world is ready for a non-anarchical system so far as global governance goes. If this passes, I think its high time we stop trying for a very, very long time.

  58. #58 mrcreosote
    February 27, 2009

    My religious beliefs *require* me to defame everyone else’s religion, so for them to say I can’t defame their religion is defaming my religion.

    And anyway, isn’t proselytizing a form of ‘defamation of religion’?

  59. #59 gdlchmst
    February 27, 2009

    I want to punch Lou Dobbs in the face whenever he talks. But I have to say, if UN passes this disgusting piece of filth, we should just bulldoze their building. Too bad WHO is associated to the UN.

  60. #60 Cokehead
    February 27, 2009

    A bit of a note here: The UN gets a lot of flack for resolutions like these and other failures that occur within it’s walls (see toothless resolutions involving Israel), but they do a lot of good work. Food aid, schooling, etc. is all part of the UN umbrella – it just so happens that the least efficient part of the whole organization just happens to be the most public.

  61. #61 Gotchaye
    February 27, 2009

    It’s not like this is meant to be applied consistently. It’s like the resolutions condemning Israel that get tossed around all the time – the point is just to create cover for (in this case) countries to enforce anti-blasphemy laws within their borders. Now some theocracy can crack down on ‘blasphemers’ and point to the UN resolution in an attempt to avoid meaningful censure. With sustained efforts, they can also create an illusion of consensus which can have an impact on how people interpret international law, which can eventually legitimize countries in punishing ‘blasphemers’. ‘Blasphemers’ is in quotes throughout not only because it’s a silly crime but also because many of the people punished for the crime aren’t actually going to have blasphemed – they’ll just be people that the government finds inconvenient.

    This isn’t the kind of thing that’s going to meaningfully impact countries that didn’t vote for it, nor will it impact the majorities of the countries that did vote for it. The people that are going to be hurt by this are primarily going to be political radicals and religious moderates in countries that have little separation between church and state. There’s no comical upside like “now the Bible and Koran are illegal hate speech”.

    Cokehead @22: But this was a UN action. What a single Senator says isn’t the position of the Senate, but what Congress enacts according to the proper rules for enacting stuff is, by definition, an act of Congress. It’s a criticism of the UN that its system is so broken that stuff like this can pass, but everything was on the up and up. And I do think that the more civilized countries that voted against this are at least somewhat culpable because they’re lending legitimacy to an organization that’s so easily hijacked. If it were just a league of theocracies that unanimously announced that they had a problem with blasphemy, this wouldn’t be worth a second look. Now, perhaps it’s on the whole a good thing that the UN exists (as opposed to not), but there’s clear room for improvement, and every country that ought to be trying to fix it doesn’t seem to care. It’s not quite like Congress where the Republicans can’t claim any credit or responsibility for the stimulus bill.

  62. #62 Twin-Skies
    February 27, 2009

    Cokehead So basically they let this one slide since they have no intention of enforcing it?

  63. #63 SD
    February 27, 2009

    The original article is By Canwest News Service
    November 24, 2008. IS THIS STILL VALID??

    Is it just news because of Lou Dobbs yesterday?

    we really need to verify facts.

  64. #64 HalfMooner
    February 27, 2009

    Until recently (I’ve been following the move of Islamic nations to ban blasphemy), I’ve never thought I’d be one to call for the US to quit the United Nations. But if it comes down to giving away our First Amendment rights, I’d prefer banning the UN from our shores.

    We simply cannot allow this hideous resolution to be binding on our own people, nor can we allow the pogroms that will result from it in Islamic (and perhaps Christian) nations.

  65. #65 a lurker
    February 27, 2009

    “This is a subcommittee of the General Assembly doing this stupid shit. Thus, the veto (which you are correct about) is useless.”

    The general assembly (let alone a subcommittee of it) has about as much legal authority as Major League Baseball does on this issue–none whatsoever. Now one could argue that the Security Council, which does have the power (on paper though not in reality) to boss around countries could do it, but I doubt that it would pass without a veto. And even if it did, in the United States, the Constitution would still trump it. And the U.S. could veto any sanction against itself if its Supreme Court said no.

    And as raven has pointed Muslims defame Christians and Jews all the time and vice versa. Atheists, agnostics, and deists are small fry on this regard.

  66. #66 FlameDuck
    February 27, 2009

    Here’s what I don’t get. How do they define ‘religion’? Jediism has more than half a million followers. Does that mean that criticizing George Lucas is suddenly a crime?

    In any country where you have freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, any such legislation seems like a bit of a paradox.

    Everything is a religion all of a sudden. Don’t like homophobes? Being gay is suddenly a religion. Don’t like puritans? Watching porn is suddenly a religion. Don’t like your job? Being a slacker is suddenly a religion.

    By what mechanism do you determine which crackpot ideas qualify as religions and which don’t? They’re all completely insane!

  67. #67 Woo Hooo!
    February 27, 2009

    This sounds awesome. I can hardly wait until all the Bibles and Korans are rewritten so as not to indicate that theirs is NOT the one true religion and thus others are false in anyway. After all, if defamation of religion is illegal it would not be allowed to ever preach that any other religion is wrong. The B’nai Brith will be ecstatic, I’m sure.

    What’s that? They’re not going to do this and instead wish to enjoy the freedom to criticize others while restricting the freedoms of others? You mean these people not only can’t grasp basic logic, the’re hypocritical and evil too?

    I’m SHOCKED!

  68. #68 Michael
    February 27, 2009

    I’d say the UN has outlived its usefulness, but that would imply it was *ever* useful. Fucking morons.

  69. #69 Jolo
    February 27, 2009
  70. #70 Hypnos
    February 27, 2009

    Lou Dobbs has a very low signal-to-noise ratio; thankfully, Chris Hitchens does not.

  71. #72 Jorg
    February 27, 2009

    #42: your comment reminded me of a wonderful Tom Lehrer song:

    “Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
    And the Catholics hate the Protestants
    And the Hindus hate the Moslems
    And everybody hates the Jews”

    (National Brotherhood Week)

  72. #73 Teddydeedodu
    February 27, 2009

    Whoa!! This is a bummer if it passes. This will damage the free exchange of ideas. Would Hitchens now be called a criminal for criticizing the Catholic Church because of its idiotic beliefs about abortion and contraception?

    I can just imagine Rev Phelps waving that disgusting placard ‘God Hates Faggots!’ around with immunity while the police arrests any protester that waves a banner that says, ‘Jesus Fucks Rev Phelps In The Ass’.

  73. #74 Gotchaye
    February 27, 2009

    Also, regarding this only being the work of a single committee – the resolution now moves on to the full body of the UN, which is basically a rubber stamp for this kind of thing. Sanity is in the minority in both the committee and the General Assembly as a whole.

  74. #75 Damian
    February 27, 2009

    The article from Britain that they are talking about is: “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?”, by Johann Hari.

    After it was reprinted in a secular magazine in India, there were riots and protests, and so he produced a follow up: “Despite these riots, I stand by what I wrote”.

    John Wilkins (Evolving Thoughts) accused Johann Hari of exaggeration, so I decided to check out some of the claims, and I was going to post a response, but I lost it after a crash. While there is a factual error in the first article, all of the claims that I checked out were supported.

    On youtube (as well as the UN website) there are numerous videos highlighting the fact that, every time a humanist group attempts to speak out against certain Islamic/cultural practices, they are shouted down, interrupted, and generally abused, particularly by the member from Egypt.

    As Hari put it:

    The Egyptian delegate stood up to announce discussion of shariah “will not happen” and “Islam will not be crucified in this council” ? and Brown was ordered to be silent. Of course, the first victims of locking down free speech about Islam with the imprimatur of the UN are ordinary Muslims.

    This is simply not acceptable, and it is something that we should keep an eye on.

  75. #76 Jorg
    February 27, 2009

    Ken @47: I should have known that someone will beat me to it…Hah.

  76. #77 TX CHL Instructor
    February 27, 2009

    Laws of this sort are already on the books in Holland, and (de facto) in the UK. (see http://plancksconstant.org/blog1/2009/02/running_from_islam_europeans_leaving_europe.html) Islam is by far the most dangerous superstition on the planet.

    http://www.chl-tx.com

  77. #78 Molly, NYC
    February 27, 2009

    Y’know, if the delegates behind this resolution were trying to demolish the prestige of, and respect for, their religions, they couldn’t have done a better job.

  78. #79 AndyD
    February 27, 2009

    Well, if it ever takes hold I say repeat after me “ATHEISM IS A RELIGION”.

    What would Comfort et al do for a living then?

  79. #80 Ema
    February 27, 2009

    This is absolutely ridiculous! Just because muslims can’t criticize their religion doesn’t mean we shouldn’t either.

  80. #81 Chupacabras
    February 27, 2009

    The UNO ceased to be the day the Vietnam war started. Ok, maybe one day earlier.

  81. #82 Asemodeus
    February 27, 2009

    They can never take away MY GOD GIVEN RIGHT to mock god endlessly!!!

    NEVAR!!!

    *jumps out of a window*

  82. #83 theinquisitor
    February 27, 2009

    What does this mean in real terms? Are authors and journalists like Dawkins and Hitchens going to prosecuted? Is Pat Condell going to face charges for his youtube videos? How will this even work when religious books criticise each other?

    How serious is this really? What the hell is going on? I feel like I just woke up in Bizarro world! This scares the crap out of me. How did this happen?

  83. #84 Summer Seale
    February 27, 2009

    #15,

    “It’s a fucking shame that the only reason Lou Dobbs would cover this is because the Moos-lims are pushing it. He really needs to fix that racist slip that always manages to show, no matter what he wears.”

    Islam is not a race. There are white, black, brown, tan, and any other kind of human skin color Muslims in the world – each by the millions at the very least.

    Please remember that.

  84. #85 Twin-Skies
    February 27, 2009

    @theinquisitor

    Actually, the “Islamic Bill of Rights” was already being pushed for as far back as 1990. It’s only now that the UN decided to push it through.

  85. #86 Summer Seale
    February 27, 2009

    #24,

    “Normally, I’m all for the UN, but this…. What are they thinking? All this will do is make the situation worse! People will blame Muslims and the whole situation will only get worse!”

    The UN general assembly discussion agenda and related inter-organizations are generally dominated by the OIC and their supporters.

  86. #87 Summer Seale
    February 27, 2009

    #83,

    “What does this mean in real terms? Are authors and journalists like Dawkins and Hitchens going to prosecuted? Is Pat Condell going to face charges for his youtube videos? How will this even work when religious books criticise each other?
    How serious is this really? What the hell is going on? I feel like I just woke up in Bizarro world! This scares the crap out of me. How did this happen?”

    Not to put too much of a political spin on this, but this stuff has been happening at the UN for quite a while now. This was originally proposed right after the Mohammed cartoon riots and has been advancing ever since.

    I know that 99% of the people who post on this blog are left of center liberals, and I respect that. I also know that left of center people tend to really respect the UN, but never really delve too much in the inner workings and wonder what it has really been up to lately and why people on the right side of the aisle tend to despise the UN. A lot has been made about Bolton and the Bush administration hating the UN, but few people actually wonder why or follow the stories about the UN which make a darn good case at times why the UN is not respected by the right.

    It shouldn’t be a political issue. It shouldn’t be a right or left issue. There are really good reasons for not liking the UN which the right sometimes brings up – entirely valid ones.

    If the left had been listening for the last few years, this story would be completely unsurprising – it’s been discussed on right wing political blogs since years. Perhaps it’s time that both sides start listening to each other on some things instead of disparaging each other.

  87. #88 Kobra
    February 27, 2009

    Any idea that cannot withstand criticism is a bad idea. Religion is no exception.

  88. #89 Clint
    February 27, 2009

    This is what happens when you’re too liberal… and I’m not a conservative. I think we can draw a comparison when altruism… how it provides ample opportunity for exploitation. I think what is happening here are a bunch of people drunk off liberalism to the point where they’d allow someone to piss down their throat. I’m all for liberalism and Enlightenment ideas… but this time around, I say shoot to kill!

  89. #90 Valor Phoenix
    February 27, 2009

    Read the linked article in the main post people!

    #61 nailed it, this resolution won’t be used _against_ religious theocrats, it will be selectively used _by_ the religious theocrats.

    For the intention of it, here is are the listed examples of what blasphemy laws are used for:(from the linked article)

    ?Pakistan has the (toughest) anti-blasphemy laws, and while they are certainly used against lots of minority religions, they are used mainly against Muslims,? said Graham.

    ?They have been used to intimidate business partners, suppress any reformist ideas, jail people who discuss women?s rights.?

    ?There are cases in Russia dealing people suing TV stations for airing South Park and the Simpsons because they see them as defamatory to Christianity,? he explained.

    ?A lot of the violence in India dealing with Hindus and Christians is being spurred on by accusations that Hindu gods are being defamed, while there are also cases against artists in India for depicting Hindu gods in modernist way.?

    Yeesh, why do you people think that wacko in Turkey keeps inviting PZ over? It’s so he can visit their fine jails, and with resolutions like this, there would be little recourse to get him freed.

    Oh yeah, the non-binding resolution passed last year, that’s why the article is from 2008. In just a few months they want to pass the binding version.

  90. #91 Ragutis
    February 27, 2009

    Er… Clint…

    How many “liberal” countries do you see on this document with “Y”s next to their names?

    http://www.eyeontheun.org/assets/attachments/documents/DR_VR.pdf

    If I’m missing your point, please explain.

  91. #92 Sigmund
    February 27, 2009

    I think people are going overboard on this one.
    We are talking about a resolution that is proposed to be binding on signatory nations.
    In other words if your nation signs this resolution it agrees that criticism of Islam should be outlawed.
    Does it not strike anyone that two basic points flow from this.
    1. If your country is already Islamic it probably already HAS laws of this sort – so no change there.
    2. If your nation is NOT Islamic then its pretty easy to stand aside from this measure – Don’t sign the bloody thing!
    What exactly is the problem?

  92. #93 Adam miller
    February 27, 2009

    #12

    Of course, the bill is lead by Pakistan, where 75% of the women in prison are in prison for being raped.

    Are we sure this is true? rape is a big problem in all Islamic countries, but not sure this is a true figure, this link goes to BBC page on rape in Pakistan.
    Lets try to our facts correct we are not Creationists after all
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4223436.stm

  93. #94 Janus
    February 27, 2009

    The problem is twofold.

    First, this is merely one part of a larger effort to impose sharia on the world.

    Second, we aren’t the ones who will decide whether to sign this resolution, our politicians are. And since Canada and most European countries already have hate speech laws that are already being maliciously exploited by Islamists, and since these countries’ politicians have already shown signs of being willing to kowtow to Islam at every opportunity, it’s a safe bet that this resolution will, at the very least, be one more factor that will push some countries towards criminalizing criticism of Islam. And if you think that’s going overboard, remember that these things never happen instantly, they happen gradually, incrementally. A mere five years ago, people were calling me crazy when I told them that some aspects of sharia would be officially sanctioned by at least one Western country in this decade. Turns out it only took four years for Britain to instate lawfully binding sharia courts.

  94. #95 Snark7
    February 27, 2009

    Well, too be fair, it isn’t “the UN” as such. It is the human rights council of the UN. Which is bad enough.
    It’s a hotbed of Anti-Semitism, the trial to brandmark any criticism as “islamophobia” and a lot more evil and shitty crap.

    In April there is a Conference to review the results of ther first meeting, called “Durban 2″.
    Please have a look at this site for an explanation and a call to boycott this.

    http://boycottdurban2.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/boycottdurban2-en/

  95. #96 Russell Blackford
    February 27, 2009

    This is pretty close to being a deal-breaker. If this resolution passes, as I expect it will, the time has come for the Western nations to engage very robustly with the UN to bring it back to its true purpose. A time could come, if this sort of idiocy continues, when the US and other Western countries must give real consideration to leaving the UN and letting the organisation sink.

    The UN has failed in its true purpose, which is to prevent wars and ensure that there are “never again” Nazi-like atrocities and genocides. The conspicuous absence of a WW III, so far, surely has more to do with the balance of terror that existed between the US and the former USSR – the UN can’t take any credit. At the same time, it has gradually been setting itself up as a kind of universal judge of morals, which is not its true function.

    This isn’t yet the last straw, but it’s getting closer to that all the time. I know that the UN has done some good, but a point can eventually come when its subversion of free speech and individual liberty outweighs whatever good its aid programs do. This binding declaration will probably be made. If it is, we must press our political representatives for very robust engagement with the UN in order to defend free speech and individual liberty. As part of that, it must be made clear in UN forums that these things are non-negotiable.

    If that doesn’t work over the next few years, then the UN can go to hell.

  96. #97 Sigmund
    February 27, 2009

    “While the current resolution is non-binding, Pakistan?s Ambassador Masood Khan reminded the UN?s Human Rights Council this year that the OIC ultimately seeks a ?new instrument or convention? on the issue. Such a measure would impose its terms on signatory states.”
    The answer is simple – don’t sign it!
    The countries that do probaly have similar laws in place anyway while those that don’t and are not signatories are not obliged to do so.

  97. #98 cedgray
    February 27, 2009

    Uh, anyone else seeing:

    FUCK ISLAM AND THEIR BITCH ASS PROPHET”

    superimposed on the bottom right-hand corner of this video?

  98. #99 Richard Harris
    February 27, 2009

    ?A defamatory statement . . . is more than just an offensive one. It is also a statement that is false.?

    Define ‘false’. Define ‘offensive’.

    If I say that religion is superstitious nonsense, (as it is, according to my perception of the evidence), can some religious idiot claim that I’ve offended them? And if I say that there are no gods, (as is the case, according to my perception of the evidence), can I prove that this is not false?

    Religious bozos can threaten secularists with legal assault if this legislation were to be ratified, which is the aim, of course.

  99. #100 Sigmund
    February 27, 2009

    Blasphemy laws only function in situations where one religion predominates to the exclusion of all others – which is why blasphemy laws simply don’t function in modern multicultural and multi-religious societies. This current legislation is simply an attempt by Islamic countries to circumvent human rights legislation that diminished their ability to impose sanctions on members of their society who didnt follow the predominant faith.

  100. #101 Strangebrew
    February 27, 2009

    How are the UN gonna enforce this in Blighty then….?

    “On May 8 2008, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in England and Wales, with effect from 8 July 2008.”

    After nearly 300 years not before time!…thing is provisions under that law had not been enacted since 1977..it was last used in Scotland in 1843…

    It directly pits UN v GB…interesting…if not totally inane.
    Folks in Blighty are not enamoured of the UN anyway…as for Strasbourg that really is a dirty word but Human rights might be evoked to address the balance…could get nasty methinks…even down to civil unrest…Muslims would no doubt bear the brunt…and racial tolerance as a policy always delicate… would definitely evaporate overnight…except in the C of E where denial and procrastination is endemic anyway!

    This might be a direct incitement to atheists to clog up the legal system on purpose of fore thought…especially in the USA!
    Eventually church law would have to be re-introduced to deal with this ‘crime’…which the church bunnies would love…cos then tis a hop skip and jump to “Inquisition” and total supremacy of xian religious dogma in their world..and farewell to secularism!

    You will not hear a serious peep from the xians on this…they might be beneficiaries…

    The UN will restart this ‘inquisition’…simple like so!

  101. #102 Walton
    February 27, 2009

    What the fuck – why did North Korea (an officially atheist state) vote for this?

    http://www.eyeontheun.org/assets/attachments/documents/DR_VR.pdf

  102. #103 Damian
    February 27, 2009

    The Center for Inquiry has produced a document about this and other issues: “Islam & human rights:
    Defending Universality at the United Nations”
    , by Austin Dacey and Colin Koproske.

    An alarming, but seldom reported movement in the international community is undermining the foundations of universal human rights and free expression. Several Islamic states, working together under the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), an umbrella organization with 57 member states, have challenged the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for decades, and have penned ?Islamic human rights? documents in its place. They have passed yearly resolutions in the United Nations Human Rights Council and General Assembly urging action against the ?defamation of religion,? calling for laws which would prevent criticism of certain ideas, ideologies, and religious traditions.

    These developments necessitate a strong response from rights-respecting nations and NGOs, but even the discussion of these matters has been compromised. Efforts by concerned officials and NGO representatives to call attention to Islamic states? expanding subversion of human rights norms have been continually disrupted at the Human Rights Council, and recently, all discussion of religion as it pertains to rights was effectively banned by the Council President.

    In place of the UDHR, OIC member states created an explicitly Islamic declaration (The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam) in 1990, arguing that the ?Western? human rights language in the UN document did not adequately accommodate the Muslim worldview. But as Adama Dieng, then Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists, argued in a 1991 statement to the Human Rights Commission, this rival declaration not only threatens the inter-cultural consensus on which international human rights instruments are based, it introduces intolerable discrimination against non-Muslims and women, imposes restrictions on fundamental rights, references only Islamic law (or the shari?ah) as its source, and legitimizes unacceptable practices such as corporal punishment (Dieng 1991).

    In light of the creation of rival Islamic conceptions of human rights and the widespread suppression of dissent within Islamic states and throughout the international community, the Center for Inquiry calls for immediate action. The universal human rights agreed to by all United Nations members need philosophical and political defense, and the mechanisms established to maintain those rights (i.e., the Human Rights Council and related offices) need re-examination.

    In this position paper, we outline the development of the Islamic human rights (IHR) movement as well as the historical context in which the ?Islamist? ideology that fuels it rose to prominence as a significant global political force. We then present a critique of the movement on legal, ethical, and political grounds. Further, we argue that the best way to respect Muslim believers and to ensure a vibrant future for Islam is to defend a secular state that guarantees robust freedom of conscience. Finally, we propose a set of recommendations, including the reinvigoration of debate in the Human Rights Council and the cooperation of civil society organizations in all parts of the world in demanding a high standard of human rights for all people, regardless of religion.

    Also, from 2.2 Combating ?the defamation of religions?

    The liberal understanding of free speech allows for humor, insult, lying, criticism, and even hateful speech insofar as it does not harm others. Limitations on speech, such as libel and slander, exist to protect individuals from harm. For example, a libelous or slanderous statement that results in the loss of a person’s job a person causes material harm, such that the speaker ought to be held responsible. Do religions generally or Islam in particular deserve the same protection? In the aftermath of 9/11 and amidst public controversies over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad and the Dutch film Fitna, an international discourse on ?Islamaphobia? and ?the defamation of religions? has arisen. As the Pakistani diplomat Asma Fatima told a panel at July 2008 hearing in Washington, D.C., anti-Islamic expressions ?really, really hurt Muslims around the world? (Savage 2008).

    The UN resolutions combating the defamation of religions encourage member states to restrict the freedom of expression out of respect for religions and belief. In a 2008 report, the Special Rapporteur on racism Mr Doudou Diene broadly endorses the concept of the “defamation of religions” and calls for the transformation of this sociological concept into a legally binding one (U.N. Doc. A/HRC/9/12, para. 45, 65). In our judgment, and in light of statements by the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs and High Commissioners for Human Rights, this would be a grave mistake. While the protection of believers (and doubters) cannot be compromised, the protection of belief itself is unnecessary, lacking a legal basis, dangerous to human rights, and harmful to religion.

  103. #104 cedgray
    February 27, 2009

    Surely all religions will suffer as well, simply because they all choose to believe different species of nonsense.

    If any one religion makes it publicly known that they, say, think the parsnip is the most glorious of God’s creations, then the Evangelical Carrot League, who worship God’s cleanest and most venerable carrot, can justifiably be ‘offended’ because the claim is challenging their cherished beliefs.

    It’s unpoliceable.

  104. #105 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Not American and I don’t know about this Lou Dobbs. But why is he “odious”? That sounds like a pretty serious charge. I hope it’s not because he isn’t a leftie and condemns political correctness.

  105. #106 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    @Edwin, #105

    Ironically enough, for the American right wing, the term “political correctness” is the politically correct term for “civil rights.”

  106. #107 Matt Heath
    February 27, 2009

    When’s this from? Britain, dropped the blasphemy law, didn’t it?

    How fail are that anchor and reporter? “How many of these countries are democracies” “dunno” “OK so they are not democracies” (NB some of them are- Jamaica, Turkey, South Africa..). There are clearly some countries voting yes just to piss off western nations or to buy favours from the Islamic bloc; I can’t really believe that North Korea is too concerned about blasphemy.

  107. #108 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Looking over the comments, it seems he’s anti-immigration (or is to some extent). People are equating that with racism. This is overzealous. Even people who are staunchly anti-immigration, without qualification, are not necessarily racist. I disagree with them myself, but I think we should be honest in expressing the real source of disagreement. The position that it is the government’s task to look after primarily its own people is not inherently about race, and is not even xenophobic.

  108. #109 SEF
    February 27, 2009

    @ Adam miller #93:

    this link goes to BBC page

    Which has nothing to invalidate the claim actually made. Reading and logic – ur doing them rong.

  109. #110 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    Looking over the comments, it seems he’s anti-immigration (or is to some extent). People are equating that with racism. This is overzealous.

    Again, in the American right wing, “immigration” is the politically correct term for “Hispanic Americans”, whether they were born in the U.S. or came from somewhere else, legally or illegally. Never once have I heard a conservative commentator complaining about white, english-speaking immigrants.

  110. #111 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    DaveL, #106:

    Ironically enough, for the American right wing, the term “political correctness” is the politically correct term for “civil rights.”

    Nonsense. “Political correctness” is a real phenomenon. It merely refers to an over-conscious and exaggerated display of open-mindedness. Lumping in anyone who uses the term “politically correct” with the likes of Bill O’Reilly isn’t in my opinion very fair.

  111. #112 Russell Blackford
    February 27, 2009

    Don’t assume that evangelical Christians are our opponents with this issue, by the way.

    Here in Australia, there’s a review of “freedom of religion and belief” being conducted under the auspices of the Australian Human Rights Commission. One of the possible outcomes of this review, already floated, is the enactment of federal laws against religious vilification. The evangelical Christians are coming out very strongly against such laws. They would rather put up with being made fun of by atheists than lose their right to say harsh things about Muslims, Catholics, atheists, and everyone else whom they consider is not “saved”.

    Australian evangelicals have been radicalised because a high-profile Pentecostal group, Catch the Fire Ministries, had to fight tooth and nail to defend itself against a religious vilification claim brought in the state jurisdiction by the Islamic Council of Victoria.

    I’ve seen clues that (at least some) evangelical Christians in the UK might make the same call. They’re well aware of the Catch the Fire Ministries case, and they have similar vilification laws to worry about.

    It may be different in the US, but even there I think that evangelicals can be brought to see how much any laws against religious vilification or “defamation of religion” could jeopardise their own freedom of religious speech. That said, they have such strong constitutional protection of free speech in the US that it may not be a big deal for them.

    In any event, this issue could play out domestically in such a way that evangelical Christians in some countries will be seeking, perhaps quite stridently, that their governments oppose the UN resolution and refuse to act on it if it’s passed. These may not be the allies we want to have, but they may be the allies we end up with this time round.

  112. #113 Carlie
    February 27, 2009

    Amazing that every fundamentalist church isn’t already screaming over it. They keep whinging about how PC and “tolerance” claims that they aren’t supposed to say others are going to hell during sermons – this resolution would say EXACTLY that, they couldn’t say religions that disagree with them are going to hell during their sermons.

  113. #114 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Again, in the American right wing, “immigration” is the politically correct term for “Hispanic Americans”, whether they were born in the U.S. or came from somewhere else, legally or illegally. Never once have I heard a conservative commentator complaining about white, english-speaking immigrants.

    Even if that were the case, I fail to see how it’s racist. I tend to dislike most Muslims I encounter, purely because of culture/religion. Most of them happen to have brown skin, but this is purely incidental. Even if Lou Dobbs were to claim to dislike Mexicans, that is not necessarily by itself racist. Maybe he just doesn’t like Mexican culture. Let’s go easy on brandishing very serious charges like racism.

  114. #115 Africangenesis
    February 27, 2009

    DaveL,

    “Again, in the American right wing, “immigration” is the politically correct term for “Hispanic Americans”, whether they were born in the U.S. or came from somewhere else, legally or illegally. Never once have I heard a conservative commentator complaining about white, english-speaking immigrants.”

    You haven’t listened to much populist radio then, I’ve heard several foreign born hollywood actors who were critical of the US referred to in just such a way. While you are probably speaking from ignorance, but surely you must have heard references to arab, iranian and palestinian immigrants that were not being confused with Hispanic Americans. Keep in mind that many on the right favor open immigration, and are critical of the nationalistic, protectionist rhetoric of the left.

  115. #116 Grahamlikethecracker
    February 27, 2009

    The UN can’t put this into action without contradicting itself. Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights make this recent attempt to push religion itself to deity status laughable at most. Besides the UN has no real governing power. At this point all it does is serve the United States as a way to make foreign nations think we give a shit about anyone besides ourselves. Although I would love to say we do and that its an honest effort, our inaction in Rwanda, Darfur, Gaza and so many other major crises makes me realize that my country will never truly look out for the rest of the world, and I’m just going to have to deal with it.

  116. #117 Russell Blackford
    February 27, 2009

    Those of you are saying that this is no big deal … well it may not be in the US. But where I live, it does make a difference every time my country comes under some sort of international obligation. There’s a strong lobby here that is always putting pressure on governments to honour their obligations under international law, and in many cases it does actually lead to laws being enacted. It really will make it much harder, here in Australia, to oppose the enactment, at both federal and state level, of laws that further abridge our freedom of speech. I’d be pretty confident that that’s also the case in many other Western countries.

    Plus, as others have said, this development gives more cover to theocratic countries that want to maintain or beef up their laws against blasphemy. I can live with that, as long as my own freedoms are guaranteed, but it’s hardly desirable.

  117. #118 Africangenesis
    February 27, 2009

    Grahamlikethecracker,

    Rwand, Darfur, Gaza? Wasn’t liberating Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, eastern Europe, S. Korea, Panama, etc. enough for you? Weren’t the millions of lives saved with AIDS aid to Africa and various food programs, and tsunami response, and vaccination programs enough for you to think that perhaps we do care at least a little more than zero. It is a bit refreshing however, to see someone embracing the policeman of the world status.

  118. #119 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 27, 2009

    I’d say the UN has outlived its usefulness, but that would imply it was *ever* useful.

    Ignorance speaking.

    What the fuck – why did North Korea (an officially atheist state) vote for this?

    I think comment 107 answers this: so it can buy more nukes from Pakistan.

    “Political correctness” is a real phenomenon. It merely refers to an over-conscious and exaggerated display of open-mindedness.

    Well, actually, it refers to the right-wing concept that only members of a group can make true statements about that group?

  119. #120 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 27, 2009

    The UN can’t put this into action without contradicting itself. Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights make this recent attempt to push religion itself to deity status laughable at most. Besides the UN has no real governing power.

    Bingo.

  120. #121 OrbitalMike
    February 27, 2009

    Here is my statement in response. The UN can nail me if they want:

    All religion is false. Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, etc. are equally all fucked up. I have no respect for any religion or ideology. People may earn my respect, but not ideas. The UN has, in endorsing this resolution, violated one of the key provisions of its charter.

    In defamation cases, where is the burden of proof on showing a defamatory statement is false? (or not?)

    As for North Korea, it is hardly an atheistic state. They worship their Dear Leader in much the same way as YHWH and Allah are worshiped.

    Oh, and I am “pure” Hispanic, a citizen of the US and I do NOT find Lou Dobbs’ stand or statements on immigration as racist.

  121. #122 soloro
    February 27, 2009

    Frankly, I have to go with the idea that WWIII didn’t happen because of MAD (and even more, because neither country would have benefited from striking first), not because of the UN. I tend to think that sort of thing (a “top-down” approach between national governments) is the wrong way to go about bringing about world cooperation anyway.

  122. #123 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    Nonsense. “Political correctness” is a real phenomenon. It merely refers to an over-conscious and exaggerated display of open-mindedness

    I’ve never heard such a definition. Political correctness is the self-policing of language by a speaker, using euphemism and often stilted, artificial terminology to make discourse inoffensive to their political constituency.

    Even if that were the case, I fail to see how it’s racist. I tend to dislike most Muslims I encounter, purely because of culture/religion. Most of them happen to have brown skin, but this is purely incidental.

    First, racism is not an aesthetic objection to a particular skin tone. When you encounted a white person who happens to be a Muslim, do you know it? Do you feel that dislike? Do you feel this dislike before or after you’re inquired after a “brown” person’s religion? Second, culture is very much a part of racial identity. If you prejudge people because you don’t like their culture in general, that is certainly a form of racism.

    You haven’t listened to much populist radio then, I’ve heard several foreign born hollywood actors who were critical of the US referred to in just such a way.

    Have any specifics?

    While you are probably speaking from ignorance, but surely you must have heard references to arab, iranian and palestinian immigrants that were not being confused with Hispanic Americans.

    I’ve heard of individuals referred to as “immigrants” perhaps, but when the pundits hold forth on “immigration”, it’s always about hispanics. They even use the rubric “immigration” to bemoan things like Spanish language services that serve a significant block of U.S. citizenship.

    Keep in mind that many on the right favor open immigration

    Name one prominent conservative politician who has publicly endorsed and “open immigration” policy.

  123. #124 DuckPhup
    February 27, 2009

    “Anyone who describes Islam as an intolerant religion encourages violence.” ~ Tasnim Aslam, Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman

    Look… this matter can be resolved? quickly? easily? economically? once and for all.

    For one whole month, every newspaper in the free world devote the bottom-half of its front page… and every network and cable news show devote the first 2 minutes of every prime-time broadcast… to offensive cartoons, ridiculing and insulting Allah (peace on him) and Mohammed (peace on him, too).

    By the end of that time, most of Islam should have self-destructed, in a paroxysm of snits, hissy-fits and terminal apoplexy.

    WARNING: This will not be pretty. In fact, it might even be a little bit messy and unpleasant… but the world would be a much better place for it.

    My only regret in this is that I cannot think of a similarly uncomplicated, cost-effective and efficient stratagem for dismantling the christ-cult… but, oh well… one thing at a time. One only does what one can.

  124. #125 shonny
    February 27, 2009

    The holier-than-thou don’t seem to have too much of a thought for the sad fact that what is defamed is infamous in the first place, infamous for restricting freedom, infamous for restricting thought, infamous for restricting about everything a REAL democracy stands for.
    And where do we find the origin of the shit? In all the crappiest, most oppressive countries on this planet, shitholes like Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, and so on.
    Let them practice their superstition at home, fight and exterminate each other. Who cares?
    No religion is the only acceptable religion!

  125. #126 Lotharloo
    February 27, 2009

    I agree with what video says at the bottom

    Fuck Islam and its pedophile racist bandit leader.

    These fucked up muslim countries are pissed off because in the western civilized countries they don’t kill anyone saying a sentence like the above.

  126. #127 Tony
    February 27, 2009

    I’m one of PZ’s daily readers and facebook fans, but Cokehead (#22) is right. THIS WAS NOT A UN ACTION. This was pushed by a caucus of fundamentalist states in the UN. As much as PZ demands facts, it’s surprising that would suggest otherwise. The UN is a coalition of autonomous states, it’s not an organization with only the barest legal personality of its own. Just as scientists don’t all hold the same opinion, and science advances because of disagreements, so does the United Nations and its members.

    beside, this was from last NOVEMBER. Old News. Meaningless. PZ’s co-blogger Ed Brayton already covered it in detail, even pointing out that the support for this resolution has gone done every year it’s been promoted.

    But, seriously, bad call on blaming this on the UN, PZ.

  127. #128 simon
    February 27, 2009

    #121

    Oh, and I am “pure” Hispanic, a citizen of the US and I do NOT find Lou Dobbs’ stand or statements on immigration as racist.

    you are a colonialist, the land belong to Indian whom killed by your ancestor. You must be shipped back to Spain together with PZ Myers

  128. #129 Walton
    February 27, 2009

    These fucked up muslim countries are pissed off because in the western civilized countries they don’t kill anyone saying a sentence like the above.

    I think that’s a bit strong. While I agree that Muslim countries are, by and large, fucked-up, I wouldn’t go so far as to talk about “western civilized countries”; secularism in the West is more fragile than you think. We have our share of fundies, dogmatists and opponents of freedom too, and in some areas they are the majority. Look at Proposition 8 in California. Look at the orthodox Christian dominance of the US Congress. Look at the fact that, until Lawrence v Texas in 1997, private homosexual conduct was actually illegal in Texas. In America, it’s the Constitution and the courts – and the consequent check on majoritarian tyranny – which maintains secularism and freedom. Without that, some of the states – and not just the “red” states – would have descended into the same kind of authoritarian wingnuttery that we see in the Muslim world.

    We can’t sit back and congratulate ourselves on being citizens of the “civilised Western” world. Civilisation is a fragile thing. And we cannot rely on the popular will to adequately protect the rights of religious minorities.

  129. #130 Africangenesis
    February 27, 2009

    Tony#127,

    Your position is inconsistent, how can you simultaneously say the UN can “advance”, and yet deny that it takes actions, and dismiss it as having “only the barest legal personality of its own”.

    Evidently it advances when you agree with what it does, and it lacks personality when you don’t.

    This action is fairly consistent with the UNs personality. It honors the sovereignty of religions and dictators and pays only lip service to individual rights.

  130. #131 IST
    February 27, 2009

    Anyone care to join me outside the UN with some “Fuck Yahweh/Allah” signs? Riker’s Island can’t be THAT bad can it?

  131. #132 charley
    February 27, 2009

    Christians and Muslims each claim to have the one true religion, thereby defaming the other as a pack of lies. Does this mean these two religions would be illegal under the new law?

  132. #133 Lotharloo
    February 27, 2009

    @Walton:

    We can’t sit back and congratulate ourselves on being citizens of the “civilised Western” world.

    I agree with this but no one can deny the stark difference between the human rights in the civilized world and the majority of the muslim countries.

    Say “fuck mohammad” in a muslim country and you will be mauled. There is not a single muslim leader (Ayatollah, mutfi, …) who disagrees with the murder of those who insult Mohammad. The equivalent is almost unheard of in the “civilized” countries.

  133. #134 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Well, actually, [political correctness] refers to the right-wing concept that only members of a group can make true statements about that group?

    No, it doesn’t, and it is foolish to call political correctness a “right-wing concept”. Maybe it was originally, but the fact is that it’s not anymore. Nowadays it’s bread and butter. Lots of people who aren’t in any sense right-wingers talk about political correctness.

  134. #135 IST
    February 27, 2009

    simon> If you’re not being facitiuous, and I rather hope you are, consider that a fair number of hispanics, especially mesoamericans, are about all that is left of the tribes in those areas… at a % of each individual.

  135. #136 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    First, racism is not an aesthetic objection to a particular skin tone. When you encounted a white person who happens to be a Muslim, do you know it? Do you feel that dislike? Do you feel this dislike before or after you’re inquired after a “brown” person’s religion? Second, culture is very much a part of racial identity. If you prejudge people because you don’t like their culture in general, that is certainly a form of racism.

    Don’t be ridiculous. Race is not defined by culture and culture is not defined by race. There are Arabs that aren’t Muslims, there are white Anglo-Saxons, and even Jews, that become Muslims. Calling people racists, on the grounds that they have a tendency to be disposed against followers of a completely vile religion, represents the height of applause-seeking, politically correct absurdity.

  136. #137 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    This is what happens when you’re too liberal… and I’m not a conservative.

    Are you sure you’re not a conservative, Clint? You’re about as smart as one.

    This resolution was passed by antiliberal nations. Liberal nations voted against it.

  137. #138 DCP
    February 27, 2009

    Don’t be ridiculous. Race is not defined by culture and culture is not defined by race. There are Arabs that aren’t Muslims, there are white Anglo-Saxons, and even Jews, that become Muslims.

    Alright, how do you define race? How many races are there? What exactly is a culture, according to you? How many cultures are there? How do religions factor into cultures?

    Thanks for enlightening us.

  138. #139 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    No, it doesn’t, and it is foolish to call political correctness a “right-wing concept”. Maybe it was originally, but the fact is that it’s not anymore. Nowadays it’s bread and butter. Lots of people who aren’t in any sense right-wingers talk about political correctness.

    It is in fact a right wing hobby horse. No one here brought up political correctness until a right winger did. No one ever talks about political correctness until right wingers complain about it.

    http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=535907

  139. #140 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    To answer your question more thoughtfully, DaveL:

    Maybe one unwelcome spinoff of disliking Muslims is that I’m biased against Arabs. I admit that this could well be the case (although it’s not conscious on my part). But by the same token, it’s possible that revulsion of the Nazis biases one against Germans. Or maybe if you don’t like workaholics you’ll feel slight preternatural aversion for the Chinese.

    You can keep going like this. I don’t think it’s very helpful. What’s important is that it’s perfectly reasonable to dislike Muslims in general. Just as reasonable as the common feeling on this blog against creationists in general. (And remember: most Muslims are creationists.)

  140. #141 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    It is in fact a right wing hobby horse. No one here brought up political correctness until a right winger did. No one ever talks about political correctness until right wingers complain about it.

    Sure. None of that invalidates anything I said.

    Alright, how do you define race? How many races are there? What exactly is a culture, according to you? How many cultures are there? How do religions factor into cultures?

    I don’t know or care. But if you’re going to define race as “adherents of a barbaric belief system”, then yes, sure, call me a racist.

  141. #142 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Even if Lou Dobbs were to claim to dislike Mexicans, that is not necessarily by itself racist. Maybe he just doesn’t like Mexican culture.

    Yeah, because that wouldn’t be bigoted at all.

  142. #143 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    Don’t be ridiculous. Race is not defined by culture and culture is not defined by race. There are Arabs that aren’t Muslims, there are white Anglo-Saxons, and even Jews, that become Muslims. Calling people racists, on the grounds that they have a tendency to be disposed against followers of a completely vile religion, represents the height of applause-seeking, politically correct absurdity.

    Changing the subject, are we? You didn’t answer my questions. Do you meet an Anglo Saxon who happens to be Muslim, do you know it? Do you feel that dislike you speak of? Do you have to inquire after a “brown” person’s religion before you feel this aversion?

    Further, I said that culture is a part of racial identity, not that race was a part of religious identity. Racism is not about disliking certain colors. It’s about judging people for their membership in a certain ethnic group, and culture is definitely a part of that.

  143. #144 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Sure. None of that invalidates anything I said.

    It means everything you said is irrelevant. You want to make the conversation be about political correctness so that you can then complain about political correctness everywhere.

    It’s a self-fulfilling trollery.

  144. #145 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Edwin, how do you feel about White Pride?

  145. #146 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    It means everything you said is irrelevant. You want to make the conversation be about political correctness so that you can then complain about political correctness everywhere.

    What? I made a few throw-away remarks, which I thought were thoroughly uncontroversial, and which I wouldn’t bother to unpack if they were contested tooth and claw.

    DaveL:

    See post #140.

  146. #147 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Edwin, how do you feel about White Pride?

    Sad to say, this blog has become a haven for batshit, braindead, applause-seeking political lunacy. It is not a science blog, it is a political activism blog.

  147. #148 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Just answer the question. How do you feel about White Pride?

  148. #149 Parris
    February 27, 2009

    OK, so did no one else see the anti-islam message hacked into the lower right hand corner of the video? Maybe I should go check the coffee around here…

  149. #150 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    Or maybe if you don’t like workaholics you’ll feel slight preternatural aversion for the Chinese.

    Because the Chinese are workaholics, right? Can’t you even see how your ostensibly non-racist posts drip with stereotypes?

    You can keep going like this. I don’t think it’s very helpful. What’s important is that it’s perfectly reasonable to dislike Muslims in general.

    Actually, no it’s not. It’s perfectly reasonable to dislike Islam, but not Muslims.

    Just as reasonable as the common feeling on this blog against creationists in general. (And remember: most Muslims are creationists.)

    I have never seen anyone on this blog direct bile at a creationist who did had not first engaged in direct and public lies, and/or slander, and/or scientific ignorance. Some prominent creationists have earned a general contempt for their professional public commitment to intellectual dishonesty. On the other hand, I personally know some ordinary people with creationist views. I do not dislike them, though I do not hesitate to hold them to account when they repeat the lies and ignorant trope they’ve been indoctrinated with.

  150. #151 DCP
    February 27, 2009

    If you neither know nor care, how can you be certain that “Race is not defined by culture and culture is not defined by race.“?

  151. #152 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    What? I made a few throw-away remarks, which I thought were thoroughly uncontroversial, and which I wouldn’t bother to unpack if they were contested tooth and claw.

    Irrelevant remarks. The Islamic resolution has nothing to do with political correctness. People disagree with Lou Dobbs for reasons unrelated to political correctness. Yours is the most boring form of trolling.

  152. #153 TX CHL Instructor
    February 27, 2009

    @106: [quote]Ironically enough, for the American right wing, the term “political correctness” is the politically correct term for “civil rights.”[/quote]

    The right to bear arms is a “civil right”, but it is NOT “politically correct”.

    http://www.chl-tx.com

  153. #154 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Yeah, because that wouldn’t be bigoted at all.

    Eh, why not? Some people here are prepared to make rather sweeping comments about Americans. The obvious implication is that these people dislike the majority of Americans. Well that’s their prerogative; I’m not going to call them bigoted (although I might call them irascible curmudgeons). Neither does anyone here.

    Why is it that – seemingly infallibly – speaking ill of any group most of whose members happen to have a tint of brown skin, results in this kind of bleeding-heart, emotional outpouring?

  154. #155 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 27, 2009

    You can keep going like this. I don’t think it’s very helpful. What’s important is that it’s perfectly reasonable to dislike Muslims in general.

    No, no it is not. That’s the definition of bigotry.

    Just as reasonable as the common feeling on this blog against creationists in general. (And remember: most Muslims are creationists.)

    BZZZZT

    Disliking creationists and thinking their opinion is based on ignorance and in some cases rank stupidity are completely separate issues.

    I have family members and some friends (not real close but close enough) who are creationists. I think they are fucking looped up because they believe what they do but I love them none the less. However if they were the “I’m going to shove it down your throat” types that could change. But that would be a personality thing. Anyone can be an asshole.

    I dislike people by their actions. I Hate creationism because of its potentiality of causing otherwise rational people to act like they lack any reasoning skills what so ever.

  155. #156 Allen N
    February 27, 2009

    I have to agree with JFC on the matter of “PC”. It has become the stock reply whenever a conservative puts their foot in their mouth and gets called out on it. Here in Colorado, a state senator made a stupid comment with respect to AIDS. When called on it, the very predictable response form the right was “too much PC”. It’s a response designed to deflect attention from the content of the comment itself.

  156. #157 Megan
    February 27, 2009

    I had to turn the video off as soon as Lou Dobbs said “Irrespective”. GHA!!

    Yay for my Canadian government. Can’t believe they got something right.

  157. #158 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    The right to bear arms is a “civil right”, but it is NOT “politically correct”.

    Sure it is.

    A certain sort of adolescent mind, self-enamored of its cleverness, loves to say that whatever it’s into “isn’t politically correct.” This is inevitably a lazy redefinition of political correctness where you’re hip and they’re squares.

    But you won’t find an actual self-declared proponent of political correctness who declares that the Second Amendment is politically incorrect.

    I, personally, support both thinking about the consequences of one’s own language and individual gun ownership rights consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.

  158. #159 Mother Batherick
    February 27, 2009

    “…sensitizing the international community on the serious impact of defamation of religions.”

    Like what, Mr. Muslim? Like planes flying into buildings? Fuck yourself with your resolution.

  159. #160 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Why is it that – seemingly infallibly – speaking ill of any group most of whose members happen to have a tint of brown skin, results in this kind of bleeding-heart, emotional outpouring?

    Yes, wouldn’t it be better if we could all get behind some White Pride?

  160. #161 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Because the Chinese are workaholics, right? Can’t you even see how your ostensibly non-racist posts drip with stereotypes?

    No, did I say that? I didn’t, so why ask that question?

    The only assumption my statement requires is that a tradition of industriousness occurs with greater frequency in Chinese families (perhaps only Western-based Chinese families). I think it could well be true.

    I’m not going to continue posting here and have my words twisted at every turn.

  161. #162 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    The only assumption my statement requires is that a tradition of industriousness occurs with greater frequency in Chinese families (perhaps only Western-based Chinese families). I think it could well be true.

    Folks! Folks! This is not a stereotype! It is in fact a cigar.

  162. #163 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    No, did I say that? I didn’t, so why ask that question?

    You made a statement that implied disliking Chinese people could be a natural spinoff of disliking workaholics. If that doesn’t mean you identify Chinese people as workaholics, I don’t know what does.

    It’s like saying “I’m going to Columbus to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”. You didn’t actually say you thought the RRHOF was in Columbus rather than Cleveland, but the sentence doesn’t make any sense unless you do.

  163. #164 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Yes, wouldn’t it be better if we could all get behind some White Pride?

    But I didn’t say anything about White Pride, so why ask the question? Why commit this flagrantly dishonest misrepresentation?

    The level of sheer crass hypocrisy on this blog is sickening. I cannot stand it and remain in the presence of these nauseating creatures any longer. They while away the hours jeering at the religious from the high horses, and at the same time exhibit the very faith-based characteristics they spend so much time denouncing. In less than an hour, almost the full gamet of despicable creationist tactics has been used against me. There is taboo after rotten taboo on this blog – several of which have been unveiled in this very thread. In truth you are nothing but cultists.

  164. #165 KI
    February 27, 2009

    RBDC@155
    Exactly! Defining any human by grouping is bigotry. All individuals should be treated as sovereign and their opinions should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Why can’t most people see that? I dislike people when they’re jerks, not because of some ill-defined category they may fall into.
    That being said, some groups of people have a high percentage of jerks in them.

  165. #166 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    You made a statement that implied disliking Chinese people could be a natural spinoff of disliking workaholics. If that doesn’t mean you identify Chinese people as workaholics, I don’t know what does.

    Yeah, if you’re completely obtuse, that kind of simpleton logic does make sense. Clearly I expected too much of you.

    My point was that there’s some real association between workaholics and Chinese. Maybe just a stereotype – more likely there’s some basis for it, e.g. they’re harder workers on average.

  166. #167 secularguy
    February 27, 2009

    The previous 3 years’ annual “Combating defamation of religions” resolutions are here in PDF format (click the language of your choice), with the voting records including this year’s resolution 63/171. Draft resolutions, including this year’s, are here in PDF format, showing the resolutions’ sponsors.

    You can most easily read last year’s resolution 62/154 here at UNdemocracy.com, where also earlier resolutions can be found.

  167. #168 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    I knew I shouldn’t have said anything about the Chinese. They have – get this – BROWN SKIN!

    Here’s an identical analogy: aversion to snobbery may lead to bias against the British or the French. Clearly not all the British and French are snobs; many of them are quite the opposite. Even if the connection is an entirely empty stereotype, the connection still remains (even if it’s only imaginary). Hence a “spinoff” of aversion to snobbery could well be (and is for some) bias against the French or the British.

    I’m not arguing this unconscious bias is justified. My point is that this sort of bias is fairly predictable, and there’s nothing one can do to prevent it apart from conscious guarding of oneself (which I advocated from the very beginning, if you actually read my posts).

  168. #169 KI
    February 27, 2009

    Edwin, face facts, you judge people by their group, not by their persons. That is bigotry. You admit to using stereotypes to assign people aspects you determine they possess. That is bigotry. See?

  169. #170 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    But I didn’t say anything about White Pride, so why ask the question? Why commit this flagrantly dishonest misrepresentation?

    Just trying to get a sense of where you’re coming from. stormfrontDOTorg/forum/showthread.php?t=103113

    I cannot stand it and remain in the presence of these nauseating creatures any longer.

    How dramatic. Edwin and the hobby horse he rode in on exit stage right, into the sunset.

  170. #171 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Here’s an identical analogy: aversion to snobbery may lead to bias against the British or the French. Clearly not all the British and French are snobs; many of them are quite the opposite. Even if the connection is an entirely empty stereotype, the connection still remains (even if it’s only imaginary).

    And that would be stereotyping. And prejudicial. And bigoted.

    I’m not arguing this unconscious bias is justified. My point is that this sort of bias is fairly predictable, and there’s nothing one can do to prevent it apart from conscious guarding of oneself (which I advocated from the very beginning, if you actually read my posts).

    Your point was that Lou Dobbs could hate Mexicans without being a bigot. But the previous paragraph contradicts this.

  171. #172 jufulu, FCD
    February 27, 2009

    Man, have I been watching too many TheOnion videos. Sometimes reality is worse than fiction.

  172. #173 Chiaroscuro
    February 27, 2009

    This is a declaration of war on everyone that believes in freedom of speech. This is the moment to be bold spoken about the truth behind religions, to show how they are the real danger to human rights around the world.
    Fuck this really piss me off!

  173. #174 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Edwin, face facts, you judge people by their group, not by their persons. That is bigotry. You admit to using stereotypes to assign people aspects you determine they possess. That is bigotry. See?

    All right, then PZ Myers and probably most people here are bigots for their sweeping statements about creationists, evangelical Christians, Republicans, Nazis, etc.

    There is nothing wrong with making statistical statements about certain groups. In fact, it would be extremely impractical – and indeed, crazy – to give up. I maintain that I think I dislike the majority of Muslims. By the very same token, I think I dislike the majority of Americans Young Earth creationists, and the majority of Nazis, as well. No bigotry here.

  174. #175 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    I knew I shouldn’t have said anything about the Chinese. They have – get this – BROWN SKIN!

    What are you on about now?

  175. #176 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    By the very same token, I think I dislike the majority of Americans Young Earth creationists, and the majority of Nazis, as well. No bigotry here.

    Sorry, that was supposed to be American Young Earth creationists.

  176. #177 Angry Person
    February 27, 2009

    Uh… Happy birthday to me :-P

    I’m so glad I didn’t find out about this yesterday or my birthday would be abruptly turned into angry stomping day.

  177. #178 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    By the very same token, I think I dislike … the majority of Nazis

    http://www.tshirthell.com/shirts/products/a192/a192_bm.gif

  178. #179 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    There is nothing wrong with making statistical statements about certain groups. In fact, it would be extremely impractical – and indeed, crazy – to give up. I maintain that I think I dislike the majority of Muslims. By the very same token, I think I dislike the majority of Americans Young Earth creationists, and the majority of Nazis, as well. No bigotry here.

    You’re right, there’s nothing wrong with making (true) statistical statements about groups. However, it is wrong to make judgements about individuals based on those statements. Disliking someone simply because of some statistical aggregate data about a group you can associate them with is bigotry.

  179. #180 KI
    February 27, 2009

    Edwin, it is wrong to judge individuals based on “statistics”. It is not crazy to jettison primitive thinking, though it indeed may be difficult. I suggest you make the effort.

  180. #181 PGPWNIT
    February 27, 2009

    The part of this that irritates me more is that the UN can define crimes at all.

  181. #182 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    There is nothing wrong with making statistical statements about certain groups.

    Now see, liberal atheists are twisting my words. What I meant was, Lou Dobbs just dislikes sombreros, siestas, and marijuana, statistically. Culturally. Statistically!

    [/davidcross]

  182. #183 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    The part of this that irritates me more is that the UN can define crimes at all.

    Yeah, if I completely misunderstood how the UN works, I’d be pretty irritated too.

  183. #184 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    Edwin, it is wrong to judge individuals based on “statistics”. It is not crazy to jettison primitive thinking, though it indeed may be difficult. I suggest you make the effort.

    Of course, but the statistics do at least provide information. Let’s take creationists. Some creationists are highly intelligent. Some, like Michael Behe, even know a lot about science. But in the absence of other information, if someone you don’t know tells you he’s a creationist…

    We should all be willing to change our views in light of new information. But it is folly to pretend that statistics about aggregates isn’t real information.

  184. #185 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 27, 2009

    I had to turn the video off as soon as Lou Dobbs said “Irrespective”. GHA!!

    Wait a second. That word actually exists, and has no self-contradictory meaning.

    What your word rage is about is probably irregardless, which is a conflation of irrespective and regardless and is technically a double negation.

    You seem to have committed a hypercorrectivism. :-)

    But by the same token, it’s possible that revulsion of the Nazis biases one against Germans.

    That only happens to deeply ignorant people, though. National Socialism is neither part of “German culture” (that is, generic Western culture) nor somehow innate in Germans. Ever met a German who’s less than 63 years old?

    My point was that there’s some real association between workaholics and Chinese. Maybe just a stereotype – more likely there’s some basis for it, e.g. they’re harder workers on average.

    What about other possibilities? Maybe you, too, would work at least as hard if you were that poor, for example?

    What a shallow thinker! Honestly believes when he has found two possibilities he can stop looking for more! TSIB!

    Just trying to get a sense of where you’re coming from. stormfrontDOTorg/forum/showthread.php?t=103113

    Please tell us what it says there. I’m not going to give that site any traffic.

  185. #186 bezoar
    February 27, 2009

    given the UN?s track record on everything, I wouldn?t worry too much about this folly.

  186. #187 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    But in the absence of other information, if someone you don’t know tells you he’s a creationist…

    I don’t automatically hold him in contempt, no. I do, however, realize that they either are ignorant of the science behind evolution or have chosen to ignore it. That’s not because of statistics, but because it’s inherent in the nature of creationism. False analogy.

    But it is folly to pretend that statistics about aggregates isn’t real information.

    It is real information- about aggregates, not individuals. You know, there is such a thing as “reserving judgement”. You don’t have to form an opinion about someone based only on their ethnicity; it’s perfectly acceptable and utterly more reasonable to wait until you have some actual knowledge of them.

  187. #188 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Some, like Michael Behe, even know a lot about science.

    Poe?

    We should all be willing to change our views in light of new information. But it is folly to pretend that statistics about aggregates isn’t real information.

    Even if Lou Dobbs were to claim to dislike Mexicans, that is not necessarily by itself racist. Maybe he just doesn’t like Mexican culture.

    Tell us more about these aggregates of Mexican information.

  188. #189 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Please tell us what it says there. I’m not going to give that site any traffic.

    It’s a Lou Dobbs thread on Stormfront.

    They love him.

  189. #190 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009
  190. #191 SC, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Extreme moronicity and illogic on Edwin’s part here – at least 4 denkers’ worth.

    By the way, Austin Dacey was interviewed about this on Atheists’ Talk Radio back in December:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/12/radio_reminder_38.php

    If you don’t have time to listen to the interesting interview, I summarized it on that thread.

  191. #192 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    What about other possibilities? Maybe you, too, would work at least as hard if you were that poor, for example?

    Which is included in the “maybe there’s some basis for it” possibility.

    What a shallow thinker! He sees a statement that can be interpreted as very broad, and chooses to construe it in a narrow, uncharitable way.

    That only happens to deeply ignorant people, though. National Socialism is neither part of “German culture” (that is, generic Western culture) nor somehow innate in Germans. Ever met a German who’s less than 63 years old?

    Eh? Of course I have. And no, unconscious bias against Germans due to the Nazis isn’t unique to “deeply ignorant people”. Biases aren’t always logical, by the way.

    But I’ve had enough. This mug’s game of judiciously uncharitable interpretation will continue till the cow’s come home. This paranoia is unseemly. The most powerful man in the world is from an ethnic minority. We should not have to “don kid gloves” every time the subject of race is brought up.

  192. #193 KI
    February 27, 2009

    I used to have a business selling dino bones at rock shows (mostly vertebrae, ribs and toe bones) and I have had dozens of encounters with strangers who identify themselves as creationists and get right in my face (with the screaming and the yelling and the “I ain’t no monkey”) but there were others who were very polite. Wrong, but polite. My point is that no two of these encounters was ever the same, no two of these people were the same, and (except for a couple times when security had to be called) by treating each of these people as individuals I was able to get to at least an “agree to disagree” point and defuse the situation.
    Aggregate statistics are fine for sociology studies, but the real world involves individual interactions, and as I said, you can’t judge someone by their sociological grouping.

  193. #194 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 27, 2009

    We should not have to “don kid gloves” every time the subject of race is brought up.

    No of course not, but we should be rational about it.

  194. #195 300baud
    February 27, 2009

    A Conservative Party press flack said THAT?! ILLOGICAL… ILLOGICAL… NORMAN, COORDINATE! BEEP BEEP BIP BIP BEEEEEEEEEEEP…..

  195. #196 Edwin
    February 27, 2009

    It is real information- about aggregates, not individuals. You know, there is such a thing as “reserving judgement”. You don’t have to form an opinion about someone based only on their ethnicity; it’s perfectly acceptable and utterly more reasonable to wait until you have some actual knowledge of them.

    No, and if you think that, you simply don’t have a clue. Take a basic statistics course. The information about aggregates gives you information about probabilities when it comes to selecting randomly from said aggregate.

  196. #197 E.V.
    February 27, 2009

    SC:
    Pardon my ignorance but what’s a denker?

  197. #198 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    This paranoia is unseemly. The most powerful man in the world is from an ethnic minority.

    Yay! Racism is over!

    I just won racist Bingo.

  198. #199 Chris Schoen
    February 27, 2009

    PZ,

    You vastly overstate this. Nothing has been criminalized. No changes have been made to International Law.

    You can read the resolution yourself at the UN HRC site.

    http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/E/HRC/resolutions/A_HRC_RES_7_19.pdf

    It’s all too easy to believe that the UN is giving away the store, but the facts here are much more measured. With a topic that readily lends itself to alarmism, more careful reporting is a desideratum.

  199. #200 KI
    February 27, 2009

    Edwin, we are talking about human interactions, not picking colored balls from a bag.

  200. #201 secularguy
    February 27, 2009

    I wrote (#167):

    “, with the voting records including this year’s resolution 63/171.”

    I hope it’s obvious that doesn’t mean “63 votes out of 171″, but rather “Resolution 171 of the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly”

  201. #203 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 27, 2009

    The part of this that irritates me more is that the UN can define crimes at all.

    What do you think about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then?

    Of course, but the statistics do at least provide information. Let’s take creationists. Some creationists are highly intelligent. Some, like Michael Behe, even know a lot about science. But in the absence of other information, if someone you don’t know tells you he’s a creationist…

    “Creationist” and “Chinese” isn’t the same kind of category.

  202. #204 Rik G
    February 27, 2009

    Binding or not, this resolution is still terrible, to say nothing of hypocritical. Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Syria all voted for it, so I wonder if cartoons such as these will no longer appear in their newspapers…

    http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=subjects&Area=antisemitism&ID=IA36807

    I’m not holding my breath.

  203. #205 DaveL
    February 27, 2009

    No, and if you think that, you simply don’t have a clue. Take a basic statistics course. The information about aggregates gives you information about probabilities when it comes to selecting randomly from said aggregate.

    I’ve taken courses on information theory. Now, how many times have you met a randomly selected individual? Don’t try to tell me you’re simply applying information-theoretic principles to your social interactions because I can guarantee you’re not doing it evenly. Do you dislike most men because, statistically, almost all sexual predators are men? Do you dislike poor people? People without college educations? People who live in the South? Why do you choose ethnicity as your preferred method of slicing the pie?

  204. #206 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Which is included in the “maybe there’s some basis for it” possibility.

    That would provide a basis for “poor people work hard”, and — therefore — for “poor Chinese work hard”. It would not provide a basis for “Chinese work hard”.

  205. #207 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Lou Dobbs denies that he hangs out with racists:

    http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=589

  206. #208 SC, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Take a basic statistics course.

    Take a basic sociology course, shithead, and learn the difference between a stereotype and a sociological generalization.

  207. #209 Itzac
    February 27, 2009

    God, even when I agree with Lou Dobbs, I despise him.

  208. #210 Julie Stahlhut
    February 27, 2009

    “Defaming a religion” is like “fighting for the flag.” Think about either for a minute, and neither makes any Zarquon-damned sense.

  209. #211 AnthonyK
    February 27, 2009

    Well, in my opinion, you’re all WRONG.
    For far too long, God has been the whipping boy for all of man’s faults and petty grievances. Thank heavens that a political organization has at last had the courage to stand up for God’s rights in the universe!
    Mankind has a duty of care towards its deities, particularly Allah, and he should feel He has the right to go about His divine business without fear of criticism from those to whom He has not yet vouchsafed his eternal glory.
    Imagine a world where Blasphemy went unpunished!
    If He wishes God should have, in law, the right to:
    Punish, torture, and kill anyone he sees fit.
    Enforce Poverty
    Through His priests and other designated representatives rape children (as part of a loving relationship), women, men and animals.
    Smite unbelievers, and believers, through natural disasters and diseases.
    Reward the venal and punish the moderate.
    Kill everyone.
    And these rights should be enforced universally and for all time, without fear of criticism or ridicule. Particularly ridicule.
    The Deity has spoken. It is time for His rights to do whatever He wants, anywhere, everywhere, and always to be fully upheld, now and for all time.
    (Satan’s right are not affected)
    At last a Human legislative body gets it right!
    All Hail the One True Supreme being (Allah)!

  210. #212 Rik G
    February 27, 2009

    Jolo (# 52 & 69), thanks for the link to the UN Watch page. They have an interesting article on the resolution. It looks like resolutions like this have been around for about a decade, and the current one passed with less support than previously; in fact, “for the first time, the number of countries supporting the resolution fell behind the number of those voting against or abstaining”.

    http://www.unwatch.org/site/c.bdKKISNqEmG/b.1289203/apps/s/content.asp?ct=6481425

    While still bad news, at least the momentum is in the right direction.

  211. #213 Canuck
    February 27, 2009

    No religion deserves any protection from ridicule. I’m sick of religion and will ridicule it any time I feel like it. And the day it becomes against the law to do so is the day I become a certified law breaker. And of all the religions that deserve disdain, the Abrahamic ones are the worst.

  212. #214 E.V.
    February 27, 2009

    Ah yes a Ward Denker Scale. Of course.

  213. #215 pdferguson
    February 27, 2009

    Well, no one should say they’re surprised by this. The number one objective of any organization is self-preservation, and religions are ruthlessly efficient in that regard. Remember, the first several of the Ten Commandments are non-compete clauses. Islam is simply taking that to its logical extreme.

    Hitchen’s comment about the “Death to America” comparison was interesting. I wonder how Islamic countries would react if the UN tried to enforce laws on countries criminalizing any criticism of other nations. Even without that, this UN anti-blasphemy resolution should cover the “Death to Israel” vitriol that spews from Islamic countries. That is clearly religious hate speech, yet I don’t see them locking anyone up. No surprise there, either.

    Just to clear the deck, make sure everything is up front, I own no monkeys…

  214. #216 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Jolo (# 52 & 69), thanks for the link to the UN Watch page.

    Just want to make sure everybody’s aware of this.

    UN Watch is a subsidiary of the American Jewish Committee. http://www.ajc.org/site/c.ijITI2PHKoG/b.789095/k.C856/Offices.htm

    And they reprint from the newswire of the Conservative News Service. http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1319279&ct=2032745 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybercast_News_Service

    None of that means that people shouldn’t listen to anything they say. Just be aware that they aren’t impartial observers. (Nor am I.)

  215. #217 Monado
    February 27, 2009

    The only way to deal with this is to make a point of defying it with so many people that they can’t possibly all be prosecuted. That’s the way the people of India, at Gandhi’s direction, dealt with the British tax on selling salt. Thousands of people ALL sold salt to each other, then went to the police to turn themselves in, creating a bureaucratic nightmare for the Brits. Political judo. The stakes have just been raised on the Blasphemy Challenge.

    Oh, and all religions are myths, superstitions, nonsense, fairy tales, pernicious lies meant to provide an easy living for a parasitical priestly class, damned nonsense, magical wish-fulfillment, and did I mention nonsense? I’ll see your God and raise you an Invisible Pink Unicorn, may Her hooves always be shiny.

  216. #218 Monado
    February 27, 2009

    You DO realize that this means nobody can diss the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, right? And the first place where this should be applied is in those Middle Eastern countries that routinely compare Jews to pigs and call for death to infidels.

    This is like the time when the death penalty for adultery was legitimized, but with the proviso that it had to apply to both sexes equally…. suddenly it was dropped.

  217. #219 Knockgoats
    February 27, 2009

    And how come the local newspapers and channels don’t report this? – Anonymous Coward

    Possibly because, while repulsive, this resolution is of no practical import whatever: it’s a non-binding resolution of the UN General Assembly’s “Human Rights Council” – and even if the General Assembly as a whole “rubber-stamps” it, it will still be non-binding. Saying “The UN has passed” this resolution, as PZ does, is misleading. Moreover, as others have pointed out, the votes against plus abstentions outnumbered the votes for; and as secularguy@167′s link shows, similar earlier resolutions had got more votes. So, why the level of hysteria many here are displaying?

    I’m not going to continue posting here – Edwin

    Can we hold you to that?

    Jesus F. Christ – excellent stuff. I must admit, though, I can’t stand your near-namesake, Jesus H. – don’t you get sick of being mistaken for him?

  218. #220 E.V.
    February 27, 2009

    The most powerful man in the world is from an ethnic minority. We should not have to “don kid gloves” every time the subject of race is brought up.

    Edwin, I eschew all protective gear when handling volatile substances as well, and I look marvelous! (if you’re into the heavily scarred, blinded, burn victim look)

    So remember kids, just dive on into the ethnic topics pool because, as you all know, racism is dead since we elected a dark-skinned man to the White House, and anyone who endured prejudice and racial bigotry has either forgiven all trespasses or been stricken with amnesia after that baton blow to the head in Watts! Isn’t that right Mein Führer, Grand Dragon Edwin?

  219. #221 Jesus F. Christ
    February 27, 2009

    Jesus F. Christ – excellent stuff. I must admit, though, I can’t stand your near-namesake, Jesus H. – don’t you get sick of being mistaken for him?

    Sure, but everybody does embarrassing things as a young adult. J Harold, or Harry Chrishnuts as we call him in the west side, is all right these days. Did you catch his comeback tour? It was a big glam rock production, but he couldn’t book any church venues.

  220. #222 BGT
    February 27, 2009

    in RE: Edwin @168

    just skimming through this thread, but I just have to something in responese to Edwin’s tonal palette.

    It may be just because I am from MS, but I have never thought of my wife’s skin as brown.

  221. #223 DJ
    February 27, 2009

    This blog and the comments here seem to really prove the point that atheists (at least most of them) are a bitter twisted lot. They seem to spend most of the time being angry about something they dont even belive in – try making sense of that! Why are atheists generally as fanatical and unreasoning as the very worst religious fundamentalists? Most of them seem so busy worshipping Darwin and grovelling before Saint Dawkins – laughable really.

    Considering they don’t beleive in God and religion they seem to spend a lot of their time whinging about it.

    So to all you atheists out there – get yourselves lives and stop being such miserable whinging gits.

    Agnostics are a much more reasonable lot.

    I feel so much better to have got that off my chest. And remember if you respond to me, you’ll just be proving my point, oh, and I’m not going to bother checking back here anyway :)

  222. #224 BGT
    February 27, 2009

    I hate getting interrupted when typing…

    The first sentence should have contained “but I just have to say something in response to Edwin’s tonal palette.”

    Spell checking and grammar would have been a good thing.

  223. #225 E.V.
    February 27, 2009

    Spell checking and grammar would have been a good thing.

    Perhaps DJ @#223 will take that hint as well.

  224. #226 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 27, 2009

    Considering they don’t beleive in God and religion they seem to spend a lot of their time whinging about it.

    Says the person coming to an atheist’s blog and whinging (incorrectly and ignorantly) about atheists.

    Good job mate!

  225. #227 CJO
    February 27, 2009

    And remember if you respond to me, you’ll just be proving my point

    Why does anyone think this transparent dodge is in the least convincing?

  226. #228 Endor
    February 27, 2009

    “Why does anyone think this transparent dodge is in the least convincing?”

    It’s the theme song of the abject coward.

  227. #229 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    bitter twisted Lot…there’s something about that in the Bibble.

  228. #230 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 27, 2009

    Posted by: DJ | February 27, 2009

    This blog and the comments here seem to really prove the point that atheists (at least most of them) are a bitter twisted lot. They seem to spend most of the time being angry about something they dont even belive in – try making sense of that!

    Wrong! I am not at all angry about the non existence of a deity. It means nothing to me. But I will tell you what does make me angry, it is rather simple. I am angry with the people who demand that I be respectful of their belief in deities.

    Are you able to see the difference, DJ. I am not angry with god. It is the same as being angry with Lord Foul. I am angry with the likes of you, with mullahs and imams, with priests and ministers and with everyone else who demands that I live by the dictates of their gods.

    Get it?

    Get out.

  229. #231 Sastra
    February 27, 2009

    DJ #223 wrote:

    I feel so much better to have got that off my chest. And remember if you respond to me, you’ll just be proving my point, oh, and I’m not going to bother checking back here anyway :)

    Ooh, you pretty much had me going up till this part, DJ you rascal you. Couldn’t quite hide that dead-giveaway smile on your face, could you?
    ;)

  230. #232 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Another spineless drive by troll.

  231. #233 Africangenesis
    February 27, 2009

    Janine#230,

    “I am angry with the people who demand that I be respectful of their belief in deities.”

    Just a thought. Do you mind being respectful if they don’t demand it? Can you respect a belief that inspired pacificism, a life of service, work against slavery or to feed the poor and treat the sick, or great literature such as ecclesiates? Can you respect the belief of a host when you are a guest in his house? Or must you spit and ridicule? Actually, my initial thought was that you probably shouldn’t do field work in cultural anthropology. 8-)

  232. #234 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 27, 2009

    Just a thought. Do you mind being respectful if they don’t demand it? Can you respect a belief that inspired pacificism, a life of service, work against slavery or to feed the poor and treat the sick, or great literature such as ecclesiates? Can you respect the belief of a host when you are a guest in his house? Or must you spit and ridicule? Actually, my initial thought was that you probably shouldn’t do field work in cultural anthropology. 8-)

    I can tolerate those who follow a religion that in it’s book gives support to slavery, violence to children and women, subservience of women, promotes irrational thinking, worships a deity who is a mass murderer, and has leaders who are anti-science, anti-homosexual, anti-intellectual and hypocritical.

    Respect it? No. Tolerate? yes.

  233. #235 Matt
    February 27, 2009

    Chris Schoen

    All you really need to do to know if this legislation is a good idea is look at how many democracies were behind it(or not, rather). Those countries abstaining and against the measure are a collection of all the reasonable first world nations, with a few exceptions.

    And no, it’s not binding, but it is a step in the wrong direction.

    The list of Countries against it:
    Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia,Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. At least Canada and most of Europe are taking logical approaches.

    Could it be because these countries recognize discouragement of free speech when they see it? Laws and resolutions against speech, whether to discourage it or to make it explicitly illegal, are always a stupid idea.

  234. #236 DJ
    February 27, 2009

    OK – I admit it, I was baiting. Its just fun sometimes seeing the reactions. I also did check back even though I said I wouldn’t – and though I didn’t think anyone would be foolish enough to respond to my obvious nonsense. But ‘true believers’ of any persuasion often raise to the bait.

    Patricia, OM – I liked the humour in your first response, but you really let yourself down with the second. Troll, maybe, spineless, no (well I don’t think so anyway) I just enjoy winding you up. Lets face it you almost certainly don’t care what I think, and I know for sure I don’t care what you think, so calling me names is really getting you nowhere is it?

    Come on Rev. BigDumbChimp, that was a feeble response. If you’re going to bite at least make it good.

    Endor, that was pathetic, try harder next time.

    Janine, Ignorant Slut wins – she (I assume it’s a she) really bit hard. Wow Janine (hope you don’t mind me abbreviating) you really are angry aren’t you? Have you considered therapy? Your choice of name speaks volumes, I guess a good therapist could spend a few hours working on that alone. I know I’m annoying, but I’m really not worth the effort of responding too you know – so calm down, take the tablets and try not to get too excitable.

    Sastra – I think you get it.. I’d raise my hat to you, but I’m not wearing one :) I was just a bit bored, and it either annoying atheists, muslims or born agains – and well annoying muslims can be dangerous, and the atheist crowd on this blog actually manage to seem more smug and fanatical than most born again, so…

    Anyway, no doubt most of you will have the sense to ignore this, but what’s the odds at least one will bite – even though any half reasonable person would know it’s not worth the bother. Please if you are going to bite, make it good. Maybe the fervour of Janine, Ignorant Slut, but with some intelligence, perhaps combined with some of the cutting wit so obviously lacking so far and a really clever put down.

    Well I really enjoyed that, thanks for biting. ;)

  235. #237 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 27, 2009

    Feeble response?

    Maybe but you’re just blabbering the same stupid canards we’ve heard a thousand times.

    We don’t hate something we see no evidence for.

    We are sick and tired of the people who think that their irrational belief in a higher power trumps the opinions of all others.

  236. #238 454545
    February 27, 2009

    I am appalled by all this too.

    But for info
    In the UK, blasphemy law was abolished last year, but it only ever covered the Church of England, all the other sects were not protected.

    There is no acceptance of sharia law in the UK, but it’s being pushed for. There is a campaign against it, see One Law for All website and also the UK National Secular Society as well.

  237. #239 Endor
    February 27, 2009

    Because, what is of true importance to me is what some cowardly pathetic troll thinks. No, really. Dazzle us some with your flaccid, weak and limp babbling.

  238. #240 Elwood Herring
    February 27, 2009

    cedgray #98: Yes, I saw it. It was there earlier, but it looks like it has been removed now.

  239. #241 Helfrick
    February 27, 2009

    @DJ That’s it? I thought your original post was an attempt at humor. Now you’re just telling us you stopped by for two posts to demonstrate that you are an ass. What a weak troll.

  240. #242 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    DJ – You’ll have to try harder to flirt with Janine. We sluts are a harder tribe to impress than your usual fare.

  241. #243 Nec_V20
    February 27, 2009

    This interchange was a waste of time.

    Christopher Hitchins knows where his bread is buttered on and that other moron is just a moron – unfortunately he has a pulpit.

    End of story.

  242. #244 Matt Heath
    February 27, 2009

    Dear Internet,
    Better Trolls Please,
    matt

  243. #245 Dwayne Litzenberger
    February 27, 2009

    The resolution itself is available on the web. Select English, then go to page 22 of the PDF. Quote:

    The General Assembly…

    “3. Strongly deplores all acts of ideological and physical violence and
    assaults, and incitement thereto, against persons on the basis of their religion
    or belief, and such acts directed against their businesses, properties, cultural
    centres and places of worship, as well as targeting of holy sites and religious
    symbols of all religions;

    Let’s look closer:

    The General Assembly… Strongly deplores all acts of ideological … violence … and such acts directed against … religious
    symbols …

    Maybe I’m reading that wrong, but it sounds like they think it’s possible to commit ‘acts of ideological violence against religious symbols’. Crackergate comes to mind.

    That snippet just scratches the surface of the nastiness inside. Read the whole resolution (pages 19-25). It’s an eye-opener.

  244. #246 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Better trolls, please!

  245. #247 Chris Schoen
    February 27, 2009

    All you really need to do to know if this legislation is a good idea is look at how many democracies were behind it(or not, rather). Those countries abstaining and against the measure are a collection of all the reasonable first world nations, with a few exceptions.

    Matt @235,

    I never said it was “a good idea.” I said that PZ’s summary of it as “trying to make blasphemy illegal” is false. I defer to the actual documentary evidence. You defer to a weird circular argument that there are reasonable and unreasonable nations.

    Why, I wonder, do standards of evidence and skepticism go out the window as soon as religion becomes the object of study? Even consciousness-raised humanists seem willing to believe all kinds of credulous shit as long as it paints religion as some kind of beast from Mordor.

  246. #248 Stu
    February 27, 2009

    Why, I wonder, do standards of evidence and skepticism go out the window as soon as religion becomes the object of study?

    Are you trying to be funny?

  247. #249 Russell Blackford
    February 27, 2009

    I love this concept of ideological violence (note that it is distinct from physical violence … I’d have no problem with condemning ideologically-motivated physical violence, but that’s not what it says).

    One problem with the kind of gobbledegook that issues from bodies such as the United Nations is that relatively clear concepts such as violence get redefined and extended, so that what was once a metaphor (“She disagreed with me violently”, meaning she disagreed with me and expressed her disagreement in very strong language) get literalised (“What she did was an act of violence that should therefore have been illegal” i.e. her “act of violence” was using strong language to express her disagreement with me).

    No one is being hysterical. There is every reason to be vigilant about the widespread tendency to expand concepts such as violence, hatred, etc., in such a way that merely metaphorical uses of words such as “violence” come to be seen as referring to, well, whatever those words refer to in their literal sense. The result is that we end up with absurd language, such as the language of the declaration, and a gradual erosion of individual freedom.

    Because the process is gradual, and because, at each point, it is asking us to be nicer, it can be difficult even getting to people to notice it. It doesn’t make headlines, and it’s certainly difficult to rally opposition. At each point we’ll be told that we’re being hysterical and that this step “only” does some small and ambiguous thing beyond what is plainly reasonable and already established. But the incremental effect over time is to render us, as individuals, less free than we were.

  248. #250 Anonymous Coward
    February 27, 2009

    >>219
    On the one hand it’s reassuring that it’s non-binding. And of course, even if it were formally binding, we would just ignore it, publish some more cartoons and generally tell them to suck it up.
    On the other hand it is slightly distressing to hear that this has been going on for quite some time, while I’m absolutely certain that if I were to tell this to anyone in the pub, even in the version that has been watered down with reality so to speak, they wouldn’t believe me for a second and think that I’m paranoid, a communist, right-wing, left-wing, or possibly all four.

  249. #251 j h woodyatt
    February 27, 2009

    Problem is… I also have to watch the odious Christopher Hitchens if I want to hear the remarks. I’ll pass.

  250. #252 Cuttlefish, OM
    February 27, 2009

    I know this thread is pretty much dead, but I did want to share this, which it inspired:

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2009/02/distillation-of-religious-truth.html

  251. #253 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 27, 2009

    DJ, so you are a self admitted dishonest asshole. Congratulations, my opinion of you went down. Before, I thought you were a stupid fundamentalist using a flawed argument. Instead, you are a bored fool who is not capable of thinking of anything interesting to do.

  252. #254 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    As always, Bravo Cuttlefish!

    Not one of your naughtiest, but still mighty tasty.

  253. #255 Kendo
    February 27, 2009

    #247 Speaking of documentary evidence, I refer you to the title of this thread. Do you see the “might” there?

    Now I refer you to the article that was linked with the phrase “tries to make defamation of religion illegal.” It talks about the motivation of the people who are behind this resolution. Now tell me that the people who are pushing for this resolution are not trying to make it illegal to defame religion.

    I have to wonder why standards of basic reading comprehension go out the window when some moron wants to build a strawman, so I checked out your blog. You can take you sharia apologetics and shove it up your arse.

  254. #256 piddien
    February 27, 2009

    Have any of you actually bothered to read it? Check it for yourself: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/47da45112.html

    This resolution tries to defend people against racism and hatred. Those that claim that it is removing free speech are a few right-wing extremists that think that anything the UN does (unless it is proposed by the US), is a part of a world-wide
    islamic conspiracy.

  255. #257 John Phillips, FCD
    February 28, 2009

    piddien, sorry, but no. It is not about combating racism, that is just cover language. It is about mainly Islamic countries trying to remove a freedom that most in the West take for granted, i.e. the freedom of speech. If you doubt it, simply look at the countries proposing it now and who have repeatedly proposed it for nearly ten years. Any country that signs up to this and adds it to their national legislation, though most proposing it already do have such laws, will criminalise freedom of speech even further.

    It serves two main purposes. Firstly, it allows those countries who sign up to it to claim a legitimacy for their anti freedom laws by arguing that it is a UN declaration and modifies the freedoms enshrined in the UN charter. Secondly, in modifying the UN charter as it applies to them it allows them to stamp on any criticism even inside the UN from countries that haven’t signed up to it. As has already happened during talks in the UN about this.

    BTW, as to your right wing strawman, by US standards I would probably be classed as a pinko communist. Though in UK terms, if I must have a label, I would probably be considered left of centre.

  256. #258 Ladnil
    February 28, 2009

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen Christopher Hitchens being the less abrasive of two speakers. That makes Dobbs either impressive beyond words, or a failure at his job. Though I do agree with both their opinions generally.

  257. #259 ManufacturingConsent
    February 28, 2009

    Yup. It was propaganda. And now the point of this little exercise in manipulation comes out: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7916191.stm

    The USA needed a fig-leaf to serve as a cover for its refusal to attend the Geneva UN conference. A profound concern for freedom of speech sounds so much better than an utterly uncritical support for anything and everything that the right-wing in Israel does.

    The same sort of set up used be standard fare under the Soviets when I was growing up. I must say, the US media has learned the lessons from Pravda well.

  258. #260 Africangenesis
    February 28, 2009

    Manufacturing Consent#259,

    The link you provided doesn’t seem to be about supporting what “right wing” Israel does at all. Could you have pasted in the wrong link?

  259. #261 Russell Blackford
    February 28, 2009

    Hopefully, the EU countries will boycott it as well, not to mention Australia, New Zealand, and other liberal-democratic countries.

  260. #262 Manufacturing Consent
    February 28, 2009

    Africangenesis@260,

    Perhaps this will help remind you: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7848768.stm

    There are those in Israel who do not support such unnecessary brutality. Hence my precisifying phrase. It would have been wrong to tar all of Israel with the same brush.

    @Russell, above: could you explain why the liberal democracies should boycott? Is it because they too should allow Israel to act with absolute impunity? (No sarcasm or prejudice in my question.) If so, can you please explain why they, as liberal democracies, should do this? I’m simply not seeing it.

  261. #263 ManufacturingConsent
    February 28, 2009

    Africangenesis: you’d not have been wrong to point out that I’ve still not quite connected all the dots. So here’s one more link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7772865.stm

    I hope that makes the case. (I take it as read that there are those in Israel who do not support the sort of actions my previous link reminds us of. I’ve met some of them.)

    In light of this, a carte blanche policy on the part of the USA seems, ummm, misguided. And using HItches as a sock-puppet to divert attention from the real motivations for lambasting the UN is disingenuous.

  262. #264 AnthonyK
    February 28, 2009

    You’ve been banned, fuckwit.
    You need psychological help. Go away – again.

  263. #265 Africangenesis
    February 28, 2009

    Manufacturing Consent,

    The US is very diverse also. There are many who are critical of the UN for reasons completely unrelated to Israel. It isn’t hard to fault an organization that pays lip service to individual rights, but really is about sovereign rights.

    Your original link was a case in point, a group that was supposed to addressing racism got diverted into criticism of zionism. Why participate in a body so obviously incapable of rational deliberation? One doesn’t have to be interested is Israel to oppose wasting time on such a body.

  264. #266 AnthonyK
    February 28, 2009

    Stunning. Just stunning. Not only are you terminally stupid you are terminally boring.
    Once again, you’ve been banned for posting shrill, insistent screeds, never listening, and generally being a waste of DNA.
    Guys?
    Intelligence is a Scam is back again!

  265. #267 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 28, 2009

    AnthonyK, just ignore the idiot. No posts. I know it’s hard, as I itch to respond too. PZ will remove the infection once he sees it. And silence on our end will frustrate him.

  266. #268 AnthonyK
    February 28, 2009

    Actually, wow, you’ve mastered the art of blockquoting comic sans – to show me up as stupid!
    That’s a third order thinking process!
    The trouble in, it’s the fourth order task which is understanding what knowledge is.
    You’ll never get there.
    Oh, and FYI – I’m up to level 21 myself (embracing my inner smugness). Thank you for helping me on that one!

    No, but seriously, fuck off.

  267. #269 AnthonyK
    February 28, 2009

    Understood, Nerd. But……oh, OK

  268. #270 ManufacturingConsent
    February 28, 2009

    Africangenesis@266: I think we disagree on less than I had thought. Let me just make two points:

    * You ask why we should participate in a flawed UN. The UN does some things well and, overall, its record has been pretty good. Certainly, we’re better off with it than with no international body of the sort. I grew up absolutely convinced that it was just a matter of time before the nuclear war erupted. The UN deserves a part of the credit for this never coming to pass. We may face other nasty standoffs in the future and we need an established body for global dialogue. (The dialogue can only be as rational as the participants, unfortunately. What can you do?)

    * It’s a difficult and open question whether countries (like Japan, Israel and Italy) that either explicitly or implicitly eschew the multicultural model to which the USA, UK and Canada aspire are doing something wrong. I’m not sure whether zionism or local nationalism of any stripe is a good or a bad idea. But if someone wants to advance the argument that territorial nationalists (including zionists) are racists, I’m happy to hear them out. If they can propose sociologically viable alternatives, so much the better. I have grave doubts that the multicultural model can work in all places but I’d be glad to be proven wrong.

    Oh, and Global Warming Dude: do fuck off. I seriously hope you’re about 14 because otherwise there’s no hope for you.

  269. #271 LanceR, JSG
    February 28, 2009

    So, GWIAS, are you ever going to respond to the answers you’ve already gotten? Are you going to argue honestly? If you actually argue honestly and drop the troll behavior you might even learn something.

    Tip: AGW is not what you think it is.

    (Sorry, PZ. I just think, deep down, that there is hope for GWIAS. Perhaps if he can learn some science.)

  270. #272 Knockgoats
    February 28, 2009

    No one is being hysterical. – Russell Blackford

    I can only assume you haven’t actually read the thread. For example:

    “Disgusting, abhorrent, and truly frightening. For once I’m glad the United States is perpetually telling the world to fuck off.” S. Athridge@49

    “if UN passes this disgusting piece of filth, we should just bulldoze their building.” – gdlchmst

    - in response to a non-binding resolution i.e. one with no practical import whatever; and furthermore, one that is nothing new – similar resolutions having been passed before, by larger majorities, to no effect.

  271. #273 AnthonyK
    February 28, 2009

    Nerd’s right, Lance (what is “JSG”?) don’t go there. It’s that old mud wrestling with a pig thing – you both get covered in shit and the pig enjoys it.

  272. #274 Africangenesis
    February 28, 2009

    ManufacturingConsent,

    “You ask why we should participate in a flawed UN”.

    I was actually referring to bodies such as that which confused zionism with racism, not the UN as a whole. The US needs to participate in the UN, not because of the things it does well, but because of the things it might do poorly if the US did not exercise its veto on the security council.

    A forum where nations talk is probably a good thing.

    The equating zionism with racism is just a rhetorical ploy without any genetic evidence to back it up. The Palestinians and Israelis are the same race.

    I’m pretty sure that nationalism of any stripe is a bad idea.

  273. #275 Africangenesis
    February 28, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “in response to a non-binding resolution i.e. one with no practical import whatever”

    I disagree, the practical import is that the resolution is evidence that the US should keep its veto on the security council and that the current culture of world governments are not to be trusted with an equal “democratic” say in the UN.

  274. #276 ManufacturingConsent
    February 28, 2009

    The Palestinians and Israelis are the same race.

    Yup. And that’s why branding a critic of (some of) Israel’s policies an anti-Semite is either ignorant or deeply cynical. Yet we see it done all the time.

    In any case, none of this shows that Israel is incapable of being racist toward Palestinians. The emergence of racist behaviour and beliefs does not require the existence of an actual biological or historical demarcation. Since there in fact is no god, the Israelis are not the chosen people. And the Palestinians are not either. If many of them are, in the final analysis, ‘the same race’ then so much the worse for all of us. That just means that our species is dumb enough to set up real-life versions of the Stanford Prison Experiment: http://www.prisonexp.org/

    Oups.

  275. #277 Walton
    February 28, 2009

    If I might weigh in with a point of view on the UN:

    Both points of view are, IMO, generally exaggerated. The UN isn’t completely useless; it’s a valuable talking shop/centralised forum of discussion, some of its wings do very useful humanitarian works, and it helps to lend a sense of legitimacy to multinational intervention/peacekeeping operations. It certainly isn’t some sort of evil conspiracy, and it isn’t a waste of money (the amount we contribute to it is far smaller than the amount our governments waste on various useless projects).

    At the same time, it isn’t, and shouldn’t be, any kind of “world government”, nor will it ever be very helpful in avoiding war. Any organisation in which dictatorships are given a seat at the table, and Russia and China are given a veto, is never going to bring any sort of idealised moral order to the world – and if we allowed such an organisation, rather than our own ethical values and beliefs, to dictate our foreign policy, then we would ourselves be acting immorally.

    I think John McCain had a point when he called for a worldwide “League of Democracies”, a military and political alliance consisting only of those nations which have democratic governance and a proper respect for human rights. This is an idea worth pursuing.

  276. #278 Chris Schoen
    February 28, 2009

    Kendo @ #255,

    If PZ meant to discuss the motives of the OIC, he should have said so. What he wrote was “The UN has passed an absurd resolution that tries to make defamation of religion illegal.”

    I’d like someone to show me where in the resolution this attempt is located.

    There is an important distinction here, between what the OIC might like to come to pass (legal protection against blasphemy, for example), and what the UN HRC is actually promulgating (expressions of “concern” about intolerance, deploring incitement to violence, and reaffirming international law protecting freedom of expression.)

    I invite the commenters here to actually read the resolution. It takes great pains to say something quite other than what PZ is suggesting (which would, if true, be alarming. But it’s not)

  277. #279 Global Warming Is A Scam
    February 28, 2009

    How long will it be before this “resolution” is used in an attempt to silence those who disagree with the doomsday forecasts of the Global Warm-monger alarmists, or dare to criticize the prophet Gore, piss be upon him? Global Warmism is a religion, after all.

    And how can we trust the “scientific” conclusions of a body which would attempt to silence its opposition in such a fashion?

  278. #280 Knockgoats
    February 28, 2009

    The Palestinians and Israelis are the same race. – Africangenesis

    Oh dear, your ignorance is showing again. “Race” is a set of social, not biological categories, so there is no objective criterion by which it can be judged whether two populations belong to the same “race”. Also, while Palestinians may be fairly homogeneous in terms of their recent geographical origins, Israelis certainly are not.

    Insofar as Zionism privileges a group of people on the grounds of their ethnicity, it certainly has racist characteristics – as indeed does the antisemitic ideology of Hamas, for example.

  279. #281 Knockgoats
    February 28, 2009

    I disagree, the practical import is that the resolution is evidence that the US should keep its veto on the security council and that the current culture of world governments are not to be trusted with an equal “democratic” say in the UN. Africangenesis

    You have problems with reading comprehension, don’t you? My meaning was was quite clear: the passing of this resolution has no practical effect. That is a simple statement of fact – but I’m well aware you have problems with acknowledging many such facts.

  280. #282 Knockgoats
    February 28, 2009

    I think John McCain had a point when he called for a worldwide “League of Democracies”, a military and political alliance consisting only of those nations which have democratic governance and a proper respect for human rights. This is an idea worth pursuing. – Walton

    Of course, based on their recent behaviour in launching a war of aggression, using torture, and instituting imprisonment without trial; and on their grossly unfair electoral systems (it’s interesting to speculate whether there is a causal link here) – neither the US nor the UK could possibly be invited to join such an alliance.

  281. #283 ManufacturingConsent
    February 28, 2009

    Knockgoats – if you are right that by “race” we mean a social and not a biological category then what I said above was, in part, wrong and I stand corrected.

    (Honestly though: I’m still not wholly sure about this. I mean, I know that ‘race’ does not designate a straightforwardly biological kind. There’s no such thing as a ‘white race’ or a ‘black race’, etc. But is the social category wholly arbitrarily defined? The Japanese were legally ‘white’ under the old South African regime; the Chinese were legally ‘coloured’. Wasn’t this transparently stupid even back then? But if it was stupid then isn’t there some biological basis for these social categories? And, if so, then isn’t there some sense in which we might say that (some) Israelis and Palestinians share a racial background? I’m confused.)

  282. #284 ManufacturingConsent
    February 28, 2009

    Knockgoats@282: touché. LOL.

  283. #285 Knockgoats
    February 28, 2009

    isn’t there some biological basis for these social categories? And, if so, then isn’t there some sense in which we might say that (some) Israelis and Palestinians share a racial background? ManufacturingConsent

    Insofar as skin colour, hair colour and texture, shape of nose etc. (partly on the basis of which individuals are assigned to “races”) are in large part genetically determined, yes there is “some biological basis”. However, the discrete categories (“races”) into which people get divided are arbitrary from that standpoint (if you like, there are biological “racial differences”, but no biological “races”), and are determined instead by socio-historical factors. So, to say that two populations “belong to the same race” is a social classification – and in this case, one to which neither of the populations concerned would agree. To say, on the basis of the fact that some of them have relatively recent ancestors in common, that the hatred and prejudice obvious between many Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs is “not racism” is either ignorance, or sophistry.

  284. #286 Africangenesis
    February 28, 2009

    Knockgoats#282,

    “War of aggression”? What could you be referring to? Perhaps one of the least aggressive wars in history, one that is more properly catagorized as a war of liberation if you consider that most of the Kurds and Shiites prefer their current state to the one before the “aggression”.

    You are assuming your conclusion if you are using UN standards to argue against a proposed alternative to the UN. I’m sure the UN would not fair well if judged by the new organizations standards either.

  285. #287 Africangenesis
    February 28, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “To say, on the basis of the fact that some of them have relatively recent ancestors in common, that the hatred and prejudice obvious between many Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs is “not racism” is either ignorance, or sophistry.”

    What could be more sophist than crying racism, when religion and culture are sufficient explanation. Even if the two parties are of different races, the conclusion that conflict between them is racism is unjustified. The Israelis have shown they have no problem coexisting with people of any race that intend them no harm.

  286. #288 Tony
    February 28, 2009

    Africangenesis

    i’m suggesting the UN as a community of nations can advance, just as science – as a community of scientists – can advance. Neither the UN nor Science is an actor in and of themselves, have a distinct personality, or commit acts.

    PZ should know this. He jumps on creationists all the time for casting all atheists or scientists in the same mold (we all know biologists are superior! haha)

    Besides, as Ed Brayton (see #127) and Rik G (#212) have pointed out, this is a meaningless resolution. Not because it’s non-binding, but because the vote this time showed how much less support this type of stupidity every time some wacky government or caucus puts it forwards. (And its doesn’t matter that Rik G is citing UN Watch – the vote tally is pretty quanitative.)

  287. #289 Tony
    February 28, 2009

    Walton – you’ve not thought through or researched the viability of a League of Democracies?

    Tell us, what purpose would such a League serve? Will it act against non-members when human rights and/or its own interests are threatened? If you think so, you need to research how poorly democracies act toward one another in the last few years? They often oppose each other in pursuing foreign policies, Iraq being only one example.

    And if the League decided to take a stand on some issue, would it be able to require its members to support that? If the U.S. were outvoted on a resolution, would you suck it up and say let’s go along? What enforcement mechanism would the League have at its disposal against its own members – holding them to the highest democratic standards – or against outsiders – requiring members to send armed forces or taxpayers’ dollars?

    Given that most advocates of this idea erroneously think that democracies will often agree or go along with the majority, but would never agree to let some international body, even a Democratic League, impose some measure on their soveriegnty…

    What is the purpose of the League?

  288. #290 Knockgoats
    February 28, 2009

    What could be more sophist than crying racism, when religion and culture are sufficient explanation. Even if the two parties are of different races, the conclusion that conflict between them is racism is unjustified. The Israelis have shown they have no problem coexisting with people of any race that intend them no harm. – Africangenesis

    It is no more true to say they are “of different races” than to say they are “of the same race”. Are you really unable to understand that “races” are social constructs? It’s really not that sodding complicated an idea, but apparently beyond you. And have you really managed to avoid the documentation of frequent expressions of anti-Arab racism among Israeli Jews – see for example Israeli anti-Arab racism ‘rises’ – and the blatant antisemitism of Hamas’s charter? Pfft.

  289. #291 Africangenesis
    February 28, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “It is no more true to say they are “of different races” than to say they are “of the same race”. Are you really unable to understand that “races” are social constructs?”

    Watch out, you are getting awfully close to nihilism. 8-)

    Yes, there are only individuals. Classes, races, nations, collectives, all are mere subjective mental categories, without independent mass (thus existence).

    What Israeli racism there is, is not socially acceptable, while palestinian “racism” infiltrates even childrens programming, where Israelis are depicted as subhuman and pigs. But that racism is totally manufactured, and these are the people calling zionism racism. The sad thing is that children raised in such an evironment may be unable to make peace with people they think of as inherently subhuman and untrustworthy.

  290. #292 LanceR, JSG
    February 28, 2009

    @AnthonyK:

    JSG: A very prestigious appellation, referring to my many years of study and intense training… Oh, wait… Just Some Guy. (And you’re only the second person to ask about it!)

    Basically, I got tired of seeing trolls, WATB’s and general fuckwits use Ph.D. or R.N., or other letters to attempt to bring some authority to their insanity. Anyone can add a few letters, and on the ‘net nobody knows different.

    re: wrestling a pig in the mud: My friends always say that about me! They also mention the 12th commandment: Thou shalt not argue politics or religion with Pops (me), especially if he’s been drinking!

    Seriously, though. GWIAS reads like a teenager or possibly a young college age boy who just needs to learn some reality. He’s probably been confined to a fundamentalist, deeply conservative household, and only knows a little bit about the entire issue. His refusal to actually engage tells me that there is hope for him. But that may be my naive optimism leaking out again.

  291. #293 Knockgoats
    February 28, 2009

    Yes, there are only individuals. Classes, races, nations, collectives, all are mere subjective mental categories, without independent mass (thus existence). – africangenesis

    *Sigh*. Who was it who was insisting that Israelis and Palestinians were “the same race”? Hint: his nym begins with “a”, ends with “s” and totals 14 letters. On your assertion that Israeli racism is not socially acceptable: crap. This from the article I linked to:

    “half of Jewish Israelis do not believe Arab citizens of Israel should have equal rights.

    About the same amount said they wanted the government to encourage Arab emigration from Israel.

    In another poll, almost 75% of Jewish youths said Arabs were less intelligent and less clean than Jews.”

    Still, at least you’re now admitting that races are social constructs, and that there is racism involved, and on both sides. Progress of a sort, I suppose.

  292. #294 Kendo
    February 28, 2009

    Chris Schoen @278

    If PZ meant to discuss the motives of the OIC, he should have said so. What he wrote was “The UN has passed an absurd resolution that tries to make defamation of religion illegal.”

    Right, and by linking the phrase “tries to make defamation of religion illegal” to an article that discusses the OIC’s motives he implies that he agrees with the article, despite the seemingly benign language in which the actual resolution was phrased. The UN resolution itself is one big concern troll.

    By the way, do you really think it’s OK to make concessions to sharia law in Britain?

  293. #295 Russell Blackford
    February 28, 2009

    @Knockgoats – lol, I realise that some people are engaging in the usual mixture of hyperbole, unfiltered emotion, etc., that we find on the internet. Yes, I had read the whole thread, but I have enough experience of the internet by now to bracket off that kind of stuff.

    My point was that no one is being hysterical in thinking that these developments potentially have real-world consequences.

    I’ll give you a very practical and specific example. My jurisdiction (Victoria, Australia) enacted religious vilification laws a few years ago. Those laws have turned out to be pretty bad in practice, as should have been apparent from the start. A famous case involving a high-profile Pentecostal Christian group, Catch The Fire Ministries, and the Islamic Council of Victoria turned out to be a mess in many ways that I won’t try to detail here, and raised many questions about the law and the wisdom of enacting it.

    There was much public consultation prior to the enactment, but most parties supported what the government was doing.

    As you know, there are already provisions in UN conventions requiring signatory nations to enact laws against religious hatred, etc. On that basis, the Humanist Society here in Victoria went along with the new religious vilification laws during the consultation – after all, such laws must be okay, since they give effect to (some of) Australia’s international obligations. Right?

    Given the way the laws are actually working, however, there’s now some regret about supporting them. Indeed, I’ve been asked to give a talk on the local religious vilification laws to the Humanist Society later this month … to help them think through what their attitude should now be.

    This is just one small incident in the scheme of things, but I don’t think I’d have too much trouble finding many such incidents in just one relatively small part of the Western world, i.e., Victoria.

    It may not always be obvious to the science-minded folks who frequent this blog, but us legally-trained folks see a lot of the pressure, in the process of public policy formation, to conform with whatever the UN thinks is a good thing. Of course, there are counter-pressures; no one should dispute that. Nonetheless, whenever the UN does something it strengthens the moral position of some players in the policy formation process and weakens that of others. At least in my jurisdiction, and in other jurisdictions in Australia, that has a real-world impact on what policies emerge.

    I summarised this by saying “No one is being hysterical.” Again, I meant “No one is being hysterical by thinking this has a real-world impact.” I thought that was clear in context, i.e. that I was responding to people who were saying that none of this has any effect anyway, that we’re all jumping at shadows, and so on. If it wasn’t clear, I hope it is now.

    The bottom line is that developments such as these do matter. Even non-binding resolutions, and even vaguely-worded ones, alter the vectors of the public policy formation process, so they have to be taken seriously. We can’t just shut up about them.

    That means, I believe, making resolutions like this controversial, being prepared to criticise what comes out of the UN and even challenging the moral authority of the UN to take actions that tend to weaken the position of those of us who want to defend fundamental liberties, such as freedom of speech, in the policy-making process in our respective jurisdictions.

    Again, that may be easy in some countries, such as the US. Where I live, and in the circles where I move, it is not so easy. The default assumption in those circles is that the UN can do no wrong.

  294. #296 ManufacturingConsent
    February 28, 2009

    Hey Russell — I just wanted to thank you for the thoughtful and interesting post. I typically support what the UN says and does (though perhaps not to the point of thinking it can do no wrong). And a good friend works for a UN agency. So it’s really interesting and helpful for me to be exposed to another viewpoint on this. So yah, I just wanted to say thanks.

    and now for some atheist ice-cream….

  295. #297 BGT
    February 28, 2009

    You know, after all of this, I was really hoping Edwin would come back and explain how my wife’s skin is brown.
    :(

    I really am curious what frequencies his color vision seems to operate in.

  296. #298 MelM
    February 28, 2009

    I want to object to the “victimless crime” view. I’d rather say “Blasphemy is not a crime”. We have nothing to gain by referring to it as a crime–especially in the U.S. where it isn’t, in fact, a crime.

    I’ve looked at the Nov 2008 resolution–entitled “Combating defamation of relgions”–and it certainly does have some teeth in it. I believe there is some confusion around between this U.N. resolution and the Durban II draft (the U.S. pulled out of Durban II Friday). The Durban II draft is some 88 pages while this res. is only a few pages–rotten though they may be. So, at this point, I’m inclined to believe Durban II and this res. are not the same thing although there is overlap. The Durban II conference is set to start April 20 which is well after the video says the res. could come up for a vote–March.

    Just one more point: there is no veto in the U.N. General Assembly.

    What would you expect from a crime-fighting committee whose board of directors included the leading gangsters of the community? Ayn Rand

  297. #299 Africangenesis
    March 1, 2009

    Knockgoats#293,

    Was that poll really scientifically designed to determine whether Israeli youths were “racists”? Did it clarify whether they thought Arabs bathed less for genetic reasons or because there was less water in the desert? Did it delve into whether they thought the Arabs were genetically less intelligent or were just less educated? The distiction between “educated” and “intelligent” isn’t perfect in english and may be even less so in other languages. But the distinction is important when determining whether an opinion is racist. If you really want to know whether someone is a racist it may take digging a little deeper and not just single ambiguoous questions.

    Similarly for the question about rights. You apparently letp to the conclusion that this was “civil rights” not just “political rights”. As a historically oppressed minority, Israelis are paranoid about granting political rights that might threaten their majority. But in regards to civil rights, Palestinians within their borders are actually privileged with exemption from conscription, a privilege only shared with the most conservative jewish sect in the country.

    You have to ask yourself why are you so keen to daemonize the Israelis as “racists”? Are you straining to create a moral equivilence between the egalitarian western culture Israelis and the terrorists that are openly teaching children that Israelis are pigs and glorifying suicide attacks against civilians?

    One would think that an anti-propertarian such as yourself would have told the Palestinians years ago that they should forget the property they lost long ago and moved on for the sake of their children.

    It is going to take a lot more than poorly constructed polls and name calling to create a moral equivilence between Hamas and the Israelis.

  298. #300 Brent Bowman
    March 1, 2009

    Ha! The satanists should have a heyday with this one. No Christain Preacher or Muslim Iman would be safe from the law if they practice their hate filled speach towards the devil. Finally, Satan will have the legal protection he has been missing for so long.

  299. #301 Knockgoats
    March 1, 2009

    One would think that an anti-propertarian such as yourself would have told the Palestinians years ago that they should forget the property they lost long ago and moved on for the sake of their children.

    You are such a fucking moron – or a dishonest shit. The fact that I do not worship property rights as you do, does not imply that I find arbitrary seizure of land from those cultivating it, or the expulsion of people from their homes because of their ethnicity, acceptable. Nor do I have the arrogance to tell wronged people that they should forget the wrong.

    You have to ask yourself why are you so keen to daemonize the Israelis as “racists”?

    I suggest you ask yourself why you are so keen to deny the obvious fact that many of them are. By the way, it’s “demonize”; “daemonize” is a computer science term.

    It is going to take a lot more than poorly constructed polls

    You have provided absolutely no evidence that it was poorly constructed, nor any counter-evidence whatsoever. I think that settles the moron/dishonest shit question in favour of the latter.

  300. #302 Africangenesis
    March 1, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “Nor do I have the arrogance to tell wronged people that they should forget the wrong.”

    As assume you mean they were “wronged” as a “people”, because nearly all the individuals who were wronged, and the individuals who did the wrong are dead. You are following of course in the Biblical OT tradition of visiting the sins of one generation on those that follow. I would be more impressed though if you had an appeal to reason in mind for your intergenerational demonization.

    “By the way, it’s “demonize”; “daemonize” is a computer science term.”

    Thanx, I have been confused about that. regards.

  301. #303 Knockgoats
    March 1, 2009

    Russell Blackford@295,

    Thanks for your explanation. I must admit that when someone says “No-one is being hysterical” I assume they mean that no-one is being hysterical. As I said in my first comment, this is a repulsive resolution – but since it’s nothing new, and is non-binding, I think the reaction is absurdly over the top – and your concerns about an existing law in Victoria do not convince me otherwise. Our freedoms in the UK are in far more danger from actual and intended “anti-terror” legislation than entirely hypothetical effects of a non-binding resolution such as this – and I’d guess the same might be true in Australia.

    There is similar piffle upthread about sharia law in the UK: what has happened is that sharia courts have been given the same status that orthodox Jewish courts have long held – that parties can take civil disputes to them if both sides agree. As a secularist I consider this wrong (with regard to all religious courts) – but it has absolutely zero effect on non-Muslims.

  302. #304 Knockgoats
    March 1, 2009

    As assume you mean they were “wronged” as a “people”, because nearly all the individuals who were wronged, and the individuals who did the wrong are dead. – africangenesis

    Liar. The original expulsions happened in 1948. So you have to be no more than 60 to have been among those expelled. There have of course been many further expulsions since 1967, and those in the occupied territories have suffered greatly from that occupation even when their land was not stolen, as in many cases it was. Moreover, children born into poverty and exile suffer enormously, as you would know if you actually gave a shit about real people.

  303. #305 Africangenesis
    March 1, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    In 1967 it was Israel that was threatened, its only “wrong” appears to be winning.

    The parents bear some responsibility for the children being born into poverty. “Poverty” is relative, the occupied lands manage to have high rise buildings and thousands of vehicles and televisions, despite having practically no economy. Evidently the subsidies and aid they receive make being professional victims too easy and profitable for them to want to change their situation. There are already pledges of aid to rebuild Gaza, so at least there will actually jobs for awhile … or will they have to import workers? Their “poverty” is apparently nothing like what the US middle class suffered during the great depression, without wallowing in hatred and resentment.

    Your view of “property” seems extremely screwed up, somehow it was wrong to expell people from “property” that you believe they had no “right” to. This appears to be a design for some kind of deedless “squatters rights”.

    Many palestinians have made a good life for themselves in other countries, those that stay behind, do so by choice.

    I would still like to know about what kind of intergenerational justification there is for race hatred and how many generations you think it should last.

  304. #306 Knockgoats
    March 1, 2009

    In 1967 it was Israel that was threatened, its only “wrong” appears to be winning. – Africangenesis

    How could “Israel” be threatened, when only individuals exist?

    Evidently the subsidies and aid they receive make being professional victims too easy and profitable for them to want to change their situation.

    You really are a scumbag, aren’t you? Blaming the victim is just your favourite pastime.

    Your view of “property” seems extremely screwed up, somehow it was wrong to expell people from “property” that you believe they had no “right” to.

    It’s quite simple really: I don’t believe property rights are absolute. That does not mean any arbitrary act of one person or group taking something from another is justified: you need to consider the consequences of taking a particular action, of not taking that action, and of adopting the particular legal rules or social norms that would justify that action, in order to attempt to determine whether it was or would be right. Got it?

    Many palestinians have made a good life for themselves in other countries, those that stay behind, do so by choice.

    Oh yes, they can move anywhere they want to, can’t they? After all, no country has restrictions on immigration, does it? Particularly Israel – they could all go back tomorrow if they wanted, right?

    I would still like to know about what kind of intergenerational justification there is for race hatred

    Nothing I have said could possibly be interpreted by any honest person as justifying race hatred under any circumstances. Fuck off and die.

  305. #307 Africangenesis
    March 1, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “How could “Israel” be threatened, when only individuals exist?”

    Exactly, beliefs in these collective fictions are destructive aren’t they”

    “Nothing I have said could possibly be interpreted by any honest person as justifying race hatred under any circumstances”

    You did go to some effort to make the case that todays palestinians had been “wronged”, evidently as a “people”. Perhaps it isn’t the race hatred they are transmitting to their children that is justified by their being “wronged”. Perhaps like the UN statement, you believe any wrong they feel should have no practical consequence. Should they raise their children to personally feel the wrong? What would be the point?

    You seem to be a hateful person. Live long and prosper.

  306. #308 JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight
    March 1, 2009

    Should they raise their children to personally feel the wrong? What would be the point?

    If your neighbor ran you out of your house and gave it to his children to live in, you wouldn’t tell your children what happened? You would just tell your kids, “we’ve always been homeless?”

  307. #309 Knockgoats
    March 1, 2009

    “How could “Israel” be threatened, when only individuals exist?”

    Exactly, beliefs in these collective fictions are destructive aren’t they

    You pretend to believe this, but whenever some argument in support of US neocon foreign policy demands it, you drop the pretence. In fact, of course, states are not fictions in the sense that, say, gods are, although they are social constructs.

    You did go to some effort to make the case that todays palestinians had been “wronged”, evidently as a “people”. – Africangenesis

    Where do you get the “evidently as a people”, liar?

    You seem to be a hateful person.

    I hate callous, sanctimonious, lying hypocrites like you, certainly. Fortunately, I seldom come across them off the internet, and you would not find anyone I interact with in daily life who views me as hateful.

  308. #310 Africangenesis
    March 1, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “You pretend to believe this, but whenever some argument in support of US neocon foreign policy demands it, you drop the pretence.”

    You’ve got when I pretend reversed. Knowledge of individual’s belief status in the concepts allows one to predict their behavior and via communicating with them perhaps influence their belief status and behavior. I see no reason to qualify the concepts or to avoid use of the terms, just because I don’t believe in them. One has to communicate with others where they are, not where they should be. Note, that I just used “has” and “should”, normative terms, to communcate feelings similar to those that people have who truly believe in the concepts.

    I point out the hypocrisy and lack of perspectve of people who demonize neocon foreign policy, because I dislike hypocrisy and mindless lemming-like beliefs and behavior. I think the world would be a better place if people were more thoughtful. Since I intend to live for awhile, and I have children I value, I want the world to be a better place. I think it is important for people to know that much to their surprise there may be other sides of the issues that can be rationally defended.

  309. #311 Knockgoats
    March 1, 2009

    Knowledge of individual’s belief status in the concepts allows one to predict their behavior and via communicating with them perhaps influence their belief status and behavior. – Africangenesis

    Yet you consistently misrepresent the beliefs of others – whether through an inability to understand them or dishonesty I don’t know and don’t much care. You are prone to “demonize” (to use your favourite word) anyone who argues against you as a “left anarchist” – and then misrepresent anarchism as belief in an all-powerful central committee. You accuse me of approving of race hatred without the slightest justification.

    I think it is important for people to know that much to their surprise there may be other sides of the issues that can be rationally defended.

    What a smug little shit you are, too. I have read far more convincing defences of both neocon foreign policy (on PNAC’s website) and “free market” dogma (in The Economist) than anything you have ever come up with. As far as the former goes, you just relay Bush administration lies; for the latter, your arguments are less convincing than Walton’s.

  310. #312 Africangenesis
    March 1, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    You were making excuses for the Palestinians, they were wronged, they were poor, the Israelis are racists, etc. Now I never said you approved race hatred, but you did seem to be justifying it. I particularly asked you what you though the practical implications of Palestinians being wrong was?

  311. #313 Africangenesis
    March 1, 2009

    JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight#308,

    I think your example should be something that happened to the grandparents or great grandparents, and should mention that you chose to be homeless in a refugee camp rather than leave and start a new life like many did.

    But when I ask what the point of telling the children how wronged their ancesters have been, you answer appear to be that it is purely informational. You aren’t arguing that hatred of the descendants of the people that did this is justified, or attacks upon the innocent is justified, or that they should put their lives on hold in the unlikely prospect that enough violence can be committed to get the house back, etc.

  312. #314 'Tis Himself
    March 1, 2009

    Africangenesis #310

    Since I intend to live for awhile, and I have children I value, I want the world to be a better place.

    Then why are you a looneytarian?

  313. #315 Ichthyic
    March 1, 2009

    after reading much of africangenesis’ commentary, I would second Nick’s (knockgoats) summary exhortation:

    Fuck off and die.

    nothing else need be said.

  314. #316 Knockgoats
    March 1, 2009

    I never said you approved race hatred – africangenesis

    Liar.

    I would still like to know about what kind of intergenerational justification there is for race hatred and how many generations you think it should last. – africangenesis

    The implication that I approve of race hatred is absolutely clear.

    You were making excuses for the Palestinians – africangenesis

    Liar again. I have not made any judgement about “the Palestinians” as a whole. I have expressed sympathy for those expelled from their homes, their children born into poverty, and those who have suffered under the occupation. I have condemned the antisemitism of Hamas. You, on the other hand, have denied the obvious fact of widespread anti-Arab racism among Israeli Jews, and pretended that the plight of those Palestinians who have suffered is their own fault.

    I particularly asked you what you though the practical implications of Palestinians being wrong was? – africangenesis

    I assume you mean “wronged”. That the wrong should, as far as possible without doing greater wrong to others (principally Israeli Jews), be put right. Any settlement is bound to be imperfect, and must be negotiated between the chosen representatives of Israelis and Palestinians. I would welcome any such fairly negotiated settlement; but because of the enormous disparity of power between the two sides, none is possible without outside pressure, on both but primarily on the more powerful side.

  315. #317 Africangenesis
    March 1, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself,

    I am reading the “Conquest of Bread”, have you ever read it? So far where Christians argue for “original sin”, Kropotkin seems to be arguing for original merit that we all have by reason of the myriad incremental advances our ancesters made. His argument is one of inheritance and hyperbole. Somehow we come into this world “poorer than the lowest savage”. Two thirds of the produce of our labor are robbed of us by the “few” and squandered. We are “taxed” by the State, the capitalist, the lord of the manor, and the middleman, is always increasing.

    At least this guy is against higher taxes, but he doesn’t seem to appreciate how low the bapitalists profit margins are, or how efficiently they are invested to produce more wealth.

    I guess the reason I’m a “looneytarian” is that I have gotten to the part that presents an alternative yet. Although the story telling, hyperbole, demonization and lack of rigor so far are not what I usually find persuasive. The introduction by Kent Bromley is particularly unpromising, because he thought:

    “Trade-unionism, with a growing tendency towards organizing the different trades internationally, and of being not only an instrument for improving the conditions of labour, but also to become an organization which might, at a given moment, take into its hands the management of production; Co-operativism, both for production and for distribution, both in industry and agriculture, and attempts at combining both sorts of co-operation in experimental colonies; and finally, the immensely varied field of the so-called Municipal Socialism–these are the three directions in which the greatest amount of creative power has been developed lately.”

    Of course, we already know that those turned out more authoritarian and with higher “taxes” than capitalism.

    I hope there is some work which gets more directly to the point. I’ve read and enjoyed Stirner before, but then he is a nihilist, not an anarchist, but that may be splitting hairs. The Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent…”, is an insult to intelligence. If he can see the “filters”, so can the rest of us, and they are easily worked around.

  316. #318 Russell Blackford
    March 1, 2009

    Thanks for your sarcastic reply, knockgoats. Personally, I prefer to apply the principle of charity when I interpret the words of others. I.e., I interpret others’ words on the basis that the others are probably not idiots and that they were speaking in a context. That particular applies when they write or speak in a way that demonstrates patently that they are not idiots. But whatever.

    I also thank you for referring to my genuine concerns and my courteous explanation of some of them as “piffle”. I’ve formed my own view of your character from this exchange. But once again, whatever. Have a good life.

  317. #319 'Tis Himself
    March 1, 2009

    I understand. You’re a looneytarian because you’re a pseudo-intellectual. That is, you’re someone who thinks you’re smart but you’re actually dumber than dirt. Thanks for giving such a shining example of your pseudo-intellectualism in your post #317.

    Why do you think I have the slightest interest in the writings of Peter Kropotkin or Noam Chomsky? I read Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid years ago in college. I haven’t read any other works by him. Chomsky is a first rate linguist. As a social commentator, he’s a first rate linguist.

    As for looneytarianism, we can see how well it’s working in the looneytarian paradise, Somalia. And don’t pretend that Somalia isn’t anything but what we’d have if your socio-political idiocy became more widespread. So I really doubt you “want the world to be a better place.”

  318. #320 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Tis Himself,

    Sorry, I confused you with somebody else. Your the guy that tries the Somalia red herring and that has me killfiled. Except you don’t try to do anything rigorous with your Somalia mention, do you? You throw it out there as if it is self evident. That is reminding me of Kropotkin … so far. I don’t want to reach a conclusion prematurely.

  319. #321 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “You, on the other hand, have denied the obvious fact of widespread anti-Arab racism among Israeli Jews, and pretended that the plight of those Palestinians who have suffered is their own fault.”

    You never provided a reference for your obvious “obvious fact”. Based on your limited recollection of it, I pointed out possible ways you are misinterpreting it, and that more questions would have to be asked to establish the “facts” that you apparently want. I made it clear that the current children of Palestinians are being victimized by racist propoganda, so it is obviously not their fault. I also noted that many palestinians that moved away are doing well, and that the “poverty” that you refer to is relative. They aren’t particularly poor and they aren’t having to work for a living. They are being subsidized and victimized more by those who would dehumanize them into suicide bombers than by the Israelis. Those are far more recent “wrongs”.

    The settlement that Arafat originally agreed to and then renegged upon is presumably still on the table. Amazingly, all the palestinians have to do, is just act nice for a long enough period, to make the possibility of peace seem credible.

  320. #322 JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight
    March 2, 2009

    I like this way of thinking. I know a guy with a huge flatscreen TV, Blu-Ray player, XBox 360, a heap of stereo equipment, and expensive looking audio recording gadgets I can’t really guess how to use. I want his stuff, but he worked for it, and I always would have felt bad to rob him.

    Thanks to you, Africangenesis, I now understand right and wrong. I can steal everything he owns, and if he doesn’t get a second job and repurchase a new copy of everything I stole, then he didn’t deserve any of it anyway and I did the right thing. If he does repurchase everything, then I didn’t deprive him of anything he couldn’t find elsewhere, and what I did is no big deal. Either way I get a new XBox!

    Screw you guys, I’m a libertarian now. This is awesome.

  321. #323 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight,

    You rather transparently continue to ignore the intergenerational aspect. After so many generations, the current electronic gadgets could never have been stolen from the original victims, because the gadgets didn’t exist then. There is no land that hasn’t been stolen from the aboriginal inhabitants, the question becomes how many generations can you go back. The original modern humans came out of Africa into inhabited lands and didn’t reach uninhabited land until N. America and the Austral-Pacific. “Native Americans” displaced those original proto-negroid and proto-caucasion inhabitants of the Americas and of course Europeans took Austrailia and most of the Pacific Islands. So we are all living on stolen land, the question is how many generations we go back to “right” “wrongs”.

  322. #324 JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight
    March 2, 2009

    The original modern humans came out of Africa into inhabited lands and didn’t reach uninhabited land until N. America and the Austral-Pacific.

    Therefore homes still standing in Palestine, whose previous owners are known and whose current inhabitants are known, are nevertheless impossible to account for?

    You consistently bring forth this astonishingly dishonest argument about neolithic peoples. We aren’t talking about mysteries here. We know which Palestinian families own which land, and we know who’s living there now.

  323. #325 JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight
    March 2, 2009

    You rather transparently continue to ignore the intergenerational aspect. After so many generations, the current electronic gadgets could never have been stolen from the original victims, because the gadgets didn’t exist then.

    Some of that well made audio recording equipment lasts more than a generation. I’m sure my neighbor would have liked to leave it to his children.

    Nevertheless, I stole it and it’s mine now, and it’s his fault for not buying a new one.

    Most importantly, I did nothing wrong.

  324. #326 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight,

    “We know which Palestinian families own which land, and we know who’s living there now.”

    If we know this presumably, we know where the families are now and whether compensation has been part of any proposed settlement. A link would be appreciated.

  325. #327 E.V.
    March 2, 2009

    Screw you guys, I’m a libertarian now.

    Isn’t that first part the official motto of libertarians anyway?

  326. #328 JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight
    March 2, 2009

    whether compensation has been part of any proposed settlement.

    Are you out of your mind? How old are you? Are you entirely new to this issue?

    Israel asserts that all land was given to them lawfully by the British: there is nothing to settle.

  327. #329 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    “Native Americans” displaced those original proto-negroid and proto-caucasion inhabitants of the Americas – Africangenesis

    Even in the middle of such a patently spurious line of argument, this stands out as dishonest garbage. You raised this claim before, and failed to provide evidence for it, because there isn’t any that is taken seriously by anyone but a handful of racist cranks.

  328. #330 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    You never provided a reference for your obvious “obvious fact”. – Africangenesis

    Liar. I linked to a recent poll, which you, without a shred of evidence, dismissed.

  329. #331 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Sorry Knockgoats, but you didn’t link to the polls, but to an article that gave no more information than you did. You quoted from a munged sentence. There is no information about the polls at all, who conducted them, what questions were asked or anything.

  330. #332 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Knockgoats#329,

    “racist cranks” slips from your figurative lips as easily as “liar”. You know I cited this article previously, do you have evidence they are racist cranks, or is evidence unnecessary?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12890443?ordinalpos=64&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

  331. #333 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    I’ve conducted a google search for better information, search on:

    “Kupermintz rosen hasaisi haifa”

    You will see that one of the potential issues I mentioned with the poll is correct. It was about lack of education, not lack of intelligence. It also was about stereotypes, not racism. I still haven’t found the real data, I wonder for instance if the questions were phrased to be specific to those ethnic groups living in Israel or were more general.

  332. #334 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    If you’re too ignorant to understand the extremely close connection between ethnic stereotypes and racism, it’s not my fault.

    I did the search you suggested. The first item to come up is from YnetNews: I’m not familiar with this site, but it advertises tourism in Israel and instruction in Hebrew. There is a red rectangle to the left of the article – apparently some sort of content flag, on which is written “racism”. The article, from Israel News, begins:

    “Recent poll reveals 75 percent of Jewish students believe Arabs uneducated, uncivilized, unclean. Similar stereotypes found amongst Arab students toward Jews, but in lower percentages”

    You might also like to take a look at some of the references from:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Arabism#Israel and at the website of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, particularly
    http://www.acri.org.il/eng/story.aspx?id=499

    I know perfectly well you will not accept this evidence, or any other I might put forward, but others with your initial view may be open to reason.

  333. #335 JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight
    March 2, 2009

    It also was about stereotypes, not racism.

    It was about mallards, not ducks.

  334. #336 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Knockgoats#334,

    Hopefully, in the future, you will view BBC articles with critical awareness of the ideological filter.

    Stereotypes can also be cultural. The BBC extrapolation from education to intelligence, shifts the emhasis. The Ynetnews site at least mentions the original source and the authors. I am open to a better reference, but it doesn’t look like the poll ever underwent peer review anyway.

    You know me well enough that I trust your judgement on those other links you came up with. They must lack detail and original sources if you think I won’t accept them as evidence. I’ll wait until you find better evidence.

  335. #337 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight,#335,

    So you are ignorant of religious, class, ethnic or political stereotypes? Perhaps you are a hick stereotype.

  336. #338 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    You know me well enough that I trust your judgement on those other links you came up with. They must lack detail and original sources if you think I won’t accept them as evidence. I’ll wait until you find better evidence. – Africangenesis

    I know that you are a dishonest ideologue and a moral coward – as you hereby prove once again.

    You know I cited this article previously, do you have evidence they are racist cranks, or is evidence unnecessary? – Africangenesis

    Actually I don’t recall you citing it – I only recall one “citation” you provided, which was to an outright racist nutter. If I am wrong in saying you had given no scientifically respectable citations, I apologise for that error.

    The paper you now cite is in a respected journal, but its claim that there was pre-Paleoindian settlement in the Americas is based on very slender grounds – a small number of skulls – and its view appears to be held only by a small group of researchers. If you use google scholar and follow the “cited by” links, you will find that one of them is a review article in Science:

    Science 14 March 2008:
    Vol. 319. no. 5869, pp. 1497 – 1502
    The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of Modern Humans in the Americas
    Ted Goebel, Michael R. Waters, Dennis H. O’Rourke

    The abstract is as follows:

    “When did humans colonize the Americas? From where did they come and what routes did they take? These questions have gripped scientists for decades, but until recently answers have proven difficult to find. Current genetic evidence implies dispersal from a single Siberian population toward the Bering Land Bridge no earlier than about 30,000 years ago (and possibly after 22,000 years ago), then migration from Beringia to the Americas sometime after 16,500 years ago. The archaeological records of Siberia and Beringia generally support these findings, as do archaeological sites in North and South America dating to as early as 15,000 years ago. If this is the time of colonization, geological data from western Canada suggest that humans dispersed along the recently deglaciated Pacific coastline.”

    This is the view of the great majority of experts in the field. It is thoroughly dishonest of you to present a fringe view as established science because it fits your ideological purposes – but exactly what I would expect from you.

  337. #339 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    Chomsky is a first rate linguist. As a social commentator, he’s a first rate linguist. – ‘Tis Himself

    I must register my dissent here: Chomsky’s focus in his political writing is on US foreign policy, and on the shared underlying assumptions of US mainstream politics and journalism, which limit the range of views that most people ever hear or read. In both these areas, I regard him as a very acute commentator.

    Incidentally I’m surprised africangenesis is so anti-Chomsky: Chomsky hates the state, and attacks Woodrow Wilson (although admittedly, for invading Haiti and the Dominican Republic, rather than his role in WWI).

  338. #340 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    I also thank you for referring to my genuine concerns and my courteous explanation of some of them as “piffle”. – Russell Blackford

    Sorry, “piffle” referred to hysterical outbursts such as I had previously quoted (the ones you referred to as “hyperbole”), not to your measured disagreement with me, but I see that the way I wrote my comment could easily be misunderstood. Please accept my apologies.

  339. #341 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    The Goebels article is not necessarily in conflict with the findings in Brazil. Goebels elsewhere identifies two northward pushes in Siberia and considerable craniofacial diversity there. The mongoloid type was originating in this time frame. The original settlers from that region could be negroid or the Kennewick/Ainu type and later pulses from the same region mongoloid. I’ve read that article and so far none of the “genetic” evidence samples the older specimens.

  340. #342 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009
  341. #343 SC, OM
    March 2, 2009

    Screw you guys, I’m a libertarian now.

    Isn’t that first part the official motto of libertarians anyway?

    OK, that was good.

    Incidentally I’m surprised africangenesis is so anti-Chomsky

    At least he found a real “left anarchist”! Therefore, presumably, Chomsky is an authoritarian who favors centralized government planning. “The Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent…’, is an insult to intelligence. If he can see the ‘filters’, so can the rest of us, and they are easily worked around” did give me a good laugh.

  342. #344 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    Africangenesis,
    Nothing you say changes the fact that referring to pre-Paleoindian settlement in the Americas as if it were established fact is simply dishonest. It isn’t, as you must know – it is the opinion of a tiny minority, based on a few skulls.

    As it happens, skull morphology is highly variable within any population of significant size, and this is likely to be exaggerated in low-density populations where small subgroups may remain genetically isolated for centuries. References to “the mongoloid type” etc. just reveal that your understanding of physical anthropology is, at best, very much out of date.

  343. #345 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    “The Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent…’, is an insult to intelligence. If he can see the ‘filters’, so can the rest of us, and they are easily worked around” did give me a good laugh. SC, OM

    Yes, taking my tongue out of my cheek, it’s a good line ag has here:

    “Ha! If this were true, I’d have seen it myself. I haven’t, so it can’t be!”

  344. #346 JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight
    March 2, 2009

    So you are ignorant of religious, class, ethnic or political stereotypes? Perhaps you are a hick stereotype.

    You said “It also was about stereotypes, not racism.” Now, English might not be your first language, so I’m not judging your intelligence here, but the meaning of your statement is that “stereotypes are never racism.”

  345. #347 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    Hopefully, in the future, you will view BBC articles with critical awareness of the ideological filter. – Africangenesis

    Oh, I’m well aware of it. A few weeks ago the BBC, to widespread disgust, refused to broadcast an appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, a coalition of 13 major charities (ActionAid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision) for their “Gaza Emergency Appeal”, because this might be seen as “taking sides”. Of the commercial broadcasters in the UK, I believe only Sky, owned by Rupert Murdoch, joined in this refusal.

  346. #348 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Knockgoats#344,

    As previously discussed on this site, “mongoloid” dates me back to 2008.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/01/seattle_get_off_your_butts.php#comment-1353708

    Of course the minority that support the negroid and mongoloid settlement is “small”. In physical anthropology, even the majority is small.

  347. #349 Knockgoats
    March 2, 2009

    Africangenesis,
    I was referring the phrase “the mongoloid type”; and I was not referring to any supposed perjorative overtones, simply to the fact that neither people nor skulls fall into discrete “types” – rather, variation is multidimensional and in most of those dimensions, continuous. However, even if the term is still in expert scientific use, contrary to my (non-expert) belief, nothing you say palliates your dishonesty in presenting the view of a small minority (and of course I mean a small proportion of the relevant expert community, which would certainly consist of some hundreds at least) as if it were established fact. It isn’t, you know it, yet you pretend it is. That’s lying.

  348. #350 Africangenesis
    March 2, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    Your persistence in your non-expert belief in the face of evidence to the contrary is truly admirable and you are justifiably proud.

    The brazilian work I cited, was published in a journal that you acknowledged as reputable. Not only the authors, but the peer reviewers and editors found it worthy. These authors aren’t alone, the publications around Kennewick man also don’t classify it within the mongoloid range. The part of the anthropological community that is expert in paleo-american sites and remains is small, that community, not the whole anthropology community is the proper comparison.

  349. #351 Alex Deam
    March 2, 2009

    What’s with all the anti-sharia sentiment here? Quoting wikipedia (which puts it far better than I could:

    In September 2008, certain newspapers in the United Kingdom sensationally alleged that the government had “quietly sanctioned” the recognition of Sharia courts. However, this is not really a submission to Sharia law but applies to situations where both sides in a legal dispute freely choose a Sharia court as a binding arbitrator rather than taking a matter before the official courts. The decision does not break new ground. The decisions of similar Jewish Beth Din court arbitations have been recognized in England for over 100 years.[79] Neither party can be forced into arbitration by a Sharia or a Jewish court.

    They are like a contract in Britain. No-one’s forced to abide by them. Why shouldn’t we have Sharia if we already have Beth Din.

    I suspect most of the sentiment here is because of how sharia is enacted in Islamic states such as Iran. But just because beheading is a part of sharia in Iran, doesn’t mean that that’s a reason to oppose sharia law, anymore than executions in the US is a reason to oppose common law.

  350. #352 Anonymous Coward
    March 3, 2009

    >>219
    Actually, it appears that the group of mostly islamic nations that backs the resolution wants to make it a globally binding resolution of the general assembly. However, I think my point that we would simply tell them to shove it, even though the resolution would theoretically be binding to all members still stands. What I’m more concerned about is that people abroad also say that they’re disappointed that they had to read/hear it on the Internet because the papers ignore the issue.

  351. #353 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    I concede, on further investigation, that “Mongolian” and even “Mongolian type” are still used scientifically. I am still waiting for you to concede that you represented a minority view as established fact.

    Incidentally, have you noticed that the very authors you cite do not support your claim that:

    “”Native Americans” displaced those original proto-negroid and proto-caucasion inhabitants of the Americas”
    (my emphasis)?

    They offer no specific hypothesis about how the morphological change they discuss came about; and incidentally they do not use the terms “caucosoid” (or even “caucasoid”) or “negroid”. Even if (contrary to majority expert opinion) there were two successive waves of immigration to the Americas with different skull morphologies, that does not imply displacement, rather than the second wave having technologies and skills enabling them to live at higher population densities, interbreeding with their predecessors hence leading to their morphologies coming to predominate; or the second wave bringing with them diseases to which the first had no resistance (this, of course, despite the brutality of the European conquest, was what killed most native Americans post-Columbus). You need your “displacement”, of course, for ideological reasons; but there is, literally, zero evidence for it. Yet you present it as fact, in the course of your favourite pastime of victim-blaming.

  352. #354 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2009

    The settlement that Arafat originally agreed to and then renegged upon is presumably still on the table. – Africangenesis

    Doubtless you can point me to the text of this settlement, evidence from impartial sources that Arafat first agreed to and then reneged on it, and evidence that it is still on the table.

  353. #355 Africangenesis
    March 3, 2009

    Knockgoats#353,

    I agree. We may never know what happened to the original Americans. But we have evidence that they lived violent lives, and that hunter/gatherer societies in general are more violent that today’s societies, in terms of the probability of dieing at the hands of another human. There is no reason to believe that the Native Americans that the Europeans encountered were any less violent, whether they were the hunter/gathers or the civilizations of central and South American.

    Neves two population hypothesis has some evidence for it, and I agree that the alternative that the variation is within one population hypothesis is also plausible. After all, modern humans can be argued to be one population as it is. But given the evidence of multiple populations and language groups within the Native Americans that the Europeans encountered, I see no reason for the single population hypothesis to be the null hypothesis. The original emigrees from Africa that reached Australia and eastern Asia, seem capable of reaching patagonia as well.

  354. #356 Africangenesis
    March 3, 2009

    Knockgoats#354,

    Arafat’s representatives agreed to an agreement which included compensation, but when it came time to put Arafat’s agreement in writing he refused, although he allowed his representatives to attend the agreement ceremony. The inference is that protests against the agreement after the time his representatives agreed it, caused him to disown it. It did include compensation, but the full rights of return the hardliners wanted. Whether compensation is “enough” is something the two sides will likely disagree about.

  355. #357 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2009

    Africangenesis@356,
    I asked for the text, for evidence from impartial sources that Arafat agreed and then reneged, and for evidence that the offer was still on the table. I did so because my cursory search did not find any of these things, and it was evident that the entire episode is contested. Apparently, you don’t have anything to offer – you were just making a claim you can’t support, as you so often do.

  356. #358 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2009

    Africangenesis@355,

    Right, so you concede that you presented as established fact something that is nothing of the kind – although I see you still can’t bring yourself to admit this explicitly.

    The reason why the “single origin” hypothesis is still preferred by most experts (it’s not “the null hypothesis” – that phrase has a specific meaning which I suggest you look up) is given in the Science article I cited: the genetic evidence. I don’t have the article here, but there is a specific mutation found in all native American and Paleoindian DNA so far tested, found nowhere outside America apart from a small number of groups in Asia. Of course it is possible that either living people or remains will be found in future that disprove the hypothesis.

    Of course it is true that many hunter-gatherer societies are violent, but I don’t know of any confirmed cases of extermination or complete displacement of one such population by another. You want there to be such, so you can make your spurious arguments about land theft and ethnic cleansing within historical times – even within living memory, with some of the displaced having title deeds, in the Palestinian case – being things those who have profited from them have no responsibility to redress.

  357. #359 Walton
    March 3, 2009

    This thread is no more. It has ceased to be. It is an ex-thread.

    However, you two have nailed it to its perch. “No, it’s just resting, see!”

    In other words, Knockgoats and Africangenesis… why don’t you move this interesting discussion to a more recent thread?

    (Sorry. Ignore me. I’ve had a very hard week.)

  358. #360 Walton
    March 3, 2009

    This thread has passed beyond the curtain and joined the choir invisible.

    Said choir consisting of Knockgoats and Africangenesis singing in painful dissonance to completely different tunes… The Internationale and… hang on, we don’t really have a libertarian anthem, do we? Why don’t I compose one? Ode to Deregulation, perhaps?

    *scratches head thoughtfully*

  359. #361 SC, OM
    March 3, 2009

    why don’t you move this interesting discussion to a more recent thread?

    That would be a nice gesture – I agree.

  360. #362 SC, OM
    March 3, 2009

    Walton, if you want the thread to die, it helps to stop posting on it. Sheesh.

  361. #363 AnthonyK
    March 3, 2009

    *panics*
    No, really you’re fine just here.

  362. #364 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2009

    Incidentally, Africangenesis, how is it that Israel escapes your righteous wrath for imposing conscription? This was sufficient for you to condemn Roosevelt – according to you he should have refrained from imposing it even if the result was defeat by the Axis. The same was true of Britain in 1940, under immediate threat of Nazi invasion – you held that it was so wicked of the Churchill regime to impose it that Roosevelt should have refused Britain all support. So, why does Israel not get condemned in the same terms?

  363. #365 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2009

    Walton, SC,
    Sorry, but I want to get to the bottom of Africangenesis’s unquestioning support for Israel and its land theft – which of course flies in the face of his proclaimed beliefs. I suspect it’s just an example of his invariable practice of siding with the rich and powerful against the poor and weak. He is always ready to lay charges of racism, race hatred, class warfare etc. against the victims of oppression, or anyone who criticises oppression, but can never see evidence for any of these being practiced by the oppressors.

  364. #366 Africangenesis
    March 3, 2009

    “Incidentally, Africangenesis, how is it that Israel escapes your righteous wrath for imposing conscription?”

    It doesn’t. I oppose all aid to the Israeli government. And I don’t support Israeli’s land theft, any more than I support the “european” land theft from the native americans, England’s enclosure, or the PRC’s attacks on the nationalists government, or FDR, Truman and Churchill ceding Poland and the rest of Eastern europe to the Soviet Union, or the acceptance of a totalitarian government rule in N. Korea and Burma, or Fidels theft of property in Cuba, etc.

    Perhaps you are confused because you don’t see Israel in historical perspection. There should be a statute of limitations on a redressing of wrongs, because eventually there are only the innocent to collect from, and that becomes just another wrong.

  365. #367 Africangenesis
    March 3, 2009

    Knockgoats#358,

    I don’t consider the two populations hypothesis, established fact, but I do consider it the only hypothesis that has evidence for it. There is a difference and it isn’t explained. Genetic evidence on more recent specimens doesn’t address the competing hypotheses, we need genetic evidence from the specimens that are different. Even with genetic evidence it may take a greater understanding of the genome, because the original settlers may also have originated in the same area of asia, before the mongoloid type developed, but still share basic blood group types, etc.

    Home erectus and homo neaderthalis were completely displaced except possibly for a few genes. There is a competing hypothesis for the small effective population size of modern humans based upon multiple displacements and exterminations. Part of the reasoning for it was the number of population bottlenecks other explanations require are too unlikely.

    This was previously discussed here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/01/we_must_already_be_there.php#comment-1339755

  366. #368 Feynmaniac
    March 3, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    Why do you hate Chomsky? After all, Chomsky calls himself a Libertarian. Of course, that requires explaining:

    The US sense [of 'Libertarianism'] is quite different. Here every word is taken the opposite of its meaning elsewhere. So here Libertarian means extreme advocate of total tyranny. That’s what ‘Libertarianism’ means here [applause]. It means power ought to be given to the hands of private, unaccountable tyrannies even worse than state tyrannies because there the public has some kind of role. The corporate system, especially as it’s evolved in the 20th century, is pure tyranny.

  367. #369 Africangenesis
    March 3, 2009

    Feynmaniac,

    Chomsky thinks he is clever when he uses hyperbole and denies distinctions and asserts false moral equivilence. Thanks for that quote it was a good reminder. I’m a modernist, and he is promoting postmodern denial of objective truth. He embraces the irrational.

    If you think he is rational, perhaps you can elaborate on the gradiations in the standards he is applying when judging that the corporate system is “pure tyranny”. It is sad when a linquist perposely attempts to destroy the meaning of words. Does his use of “tyranny” have any normative content? What new word is he going to use for serious “tyrannies”? Does he even care?

  368. #370 windy
    March 3, 2009

    Home erectus and homo neaderthalis were completely displaced except possibly for a few genes. There is a competing hypothesis for the small effective population size of modern humans based upon multiple displacements and exterminations. Part of the reasoning for it was the number of population bottlenecks other explanations require are too unlikely.

    And you are still getting that study wrong! If the decreased genetic variation were solely because of “exterminations” those would still be bottlenecks! The point of that study was to explain how genetic variation could also have been decreased without implausible levels of mass death from whatever cause.

  369. #371 Feynmaniac
    March 3, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    I’m a modernist, and he is promoting postmodern denial of objective truth. He embraces the irrational.

    Where in the video, or elsewhere for that matter, has Chomsky promoted postmodernism? The only time I have seen him discuss it was his criticisms of it.

    If you think he is rational, perhaps you can elaborate on the gradiations in the standards he is applying when judging that the corporate system is “pure tyranny”. It is sad when a linquist perposely attempts to destroy the meaning of words

    I’m not sure what your problem with the term ‘tyranny’ is. If you think it can only be applied to governments then took a look here:

    oppressive power …. ; especially : oppressive power exerted by government

    It says ‘especially’ not ‘exclusively’.

    Terms aside, in corporations power is concentrated in management and share holders rather than in hands of workers. Do you think that a system where the power is divided by how much stock you have in it is in anyway democratic?

  370. #372 Walton
    March 4, 2009

    Surely there are only two circumstances in which a corporation can exercise oppressive coercive power? Agents of a corporation cannot, in the ordinary course of things, hold a gun to your head and force you to comply with their wishes. There are two situations in which they can do so:

    (1) If the corporation is breaking the law and getting away with it.

    (2) If the corporation is acting with the express or implied authorisation of government.

    Both situations are a result of “crony capitalism” where government and the largest corporations work too closely together (to the detriment of consumers, workers and small business). However, I am passionately opposed to crony capitalism, and to any dialogue or connection between government and business. Rand expressly advocated “a separation of economics and state in the same way, and for the same reasons, as the separation of church and state.” The free market does not mean “letting the biggest companies do what they want”; the interests of the biggest companies are generally antithetical to those of the market, since they want to squeeze out their competitors (using the coercive power of the State if they can) and establish a monopoly.

    Of course, companies which enjoy a monopoly also hold a de facto form of power, since they are essentially free to screw over their consumers and employees with impunity; if there is no other company who you can buy your goods from, or who will employ you, then you have no choice but to accede to its wishes. But this is why I strongly support antitrust laws.

  371. #373 Africangenesis
    March 4, 2009

    Feynamaniac,

    Chomsky is obscurant and intellectually dishonest like the postmodernists he criticises. He generalizes words with coercive overtones to voluntary relationships, e.g., “tyranny”, “exploitation”. He condemns whole systems based on cherry picked outlier examples, and without acknowledging that alternative systems are worse. There are hundreds of thousands of corporations, many with no or owner employees, and most without significant market power, either with their customers or with their employees. His “Manufacturing Consent…” is an ad hominem argument against media sources, not made any more valid because the media are institutions rather than individuals.

  372. #374 Knockgoats
    March 4, 2009

    I don’t support Israeli’s land theft – Africangenesis

    But this is exactly what you have been doing. As for your “statute of limitations” on wrongs, that’s a reasonable argument if no-one is left alive who took part in the wrongs, or suffered directly from them; but in this case that is far from so. Indeed, the wrongs are still continuing – land is still being seized for Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

    I don’t consider the two populations hypothesis, established fact, but I do consider it the only hypothesis that has evidence for it. – Africangenesis

    You presented it as established fact for your ideological purposes; and in any case, it’s simply false to say there is no contrary evidence: the genetic evidence is against it, as the Science review article I cited shows. Moreover, you are still assuming that population change implies violent displacement, for which in the prehistoric American case (as in those of H. neanderthalis and H. erectus) there is absolutely zero evidence; and which Neves and colleagues do not suggest. But of course, as with AGW, you know better than the experts who have only spent a few decades studying the matter. It really does astonish me that you don’t have a clutch of Nobel prizes to your name, if you’re actually as clever as you think you are!

  373. #375 Knockgoats
    March 4, 2009

    Surely there are only two circumstances in which a corporation can exercise oppressive coercive power? Agents of a corporation cannot, in the ordinary course of things, hold a gun to your head and force you to comply with their wishes. There are two situations in which they can do so:

    (1) If the corporation is breaking the law and getting away with it.

    (2) If the corporation is acting with the express or implied authorisation of government.

    Your second situation comes down to “When the corporation is not breaking the law”, so I think we can agree that you’ve covered the possibilities. The thing is, large firms have always, throughout the history of capitalism, played a central part in determining what the law should be and how, if at all, it is enforced; in that sense, only what you call “crony capitalism” has ever existed. Democracy acts as a moderating force on this, and antitrust laws are one manifestation of that; but if you weaken the state, as “libertarians” want, without also curbing corporate power in other ways, they will use that opportunity to establish monopolies or oligopolies – because it is highly advantageous to them to do so. Similarly, wherever they can corporations combine to avoid taxes, to push down wages and working conditions, and to evade responsibilities for the environmental damage they do. This is why the “libertarian” think-tanks get a lot of their funding from large corporations.

    What I am saying here is not speculation: it is demonstrated in the way rich country corporations act in poor countries, where the state is weaker in relation to them – often to the extent of either co-opting the state’s forces or using private armies to torture and murder union organisers; and endangering local communities with their activities.

    I agree, incidentally, that Chomsky is prone to hyperbole, but in regard to the word “libertarian” he is quite right; and to try to associate him with postmodernism, as africangenesis does, is just silly.

  374. #376 Knockgoats
    March 4, 2009

    Incidentally, the reason africangenesis hates Chomsky is quite simple: Chomsky, whatever his faults, is a real libertarian; as opposed to “libertarians” like africangenesis, who are (witting or unwitting) stooges for corporate power.

  375. #377 Africangenesis
    March 4, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    Have you ever been a stooge for corporate power, or perhaps had a close call? If so, how did you recognize it and perhaps avoid it?

  376. #378 Africangenesis
    March 4, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “Similarly, wherever they can corporations combine to avoid taxes, to push down wages and working conditions, and to evade responsibilities for the environmental damage they do”

    Hyperbole and lies. Believe it or not, corporations sometimes even bid against each other for labor, and compete for labor based upon working conditions and corporate culture and to be more “green”. Of course, corporations should try to reduce taxes in order to achieve greater productivity and efficiency. This is probably a public service, since taxing corporations and other productive activities is a way politicians hide their tax part of their tax and spend policies as they attempt to maintain their control of the government monopoly on power.

    Do you think Chomsky is also making your mistake of condemning a whole corporate system numbering in the millions for the actions of a few “rich” corporations in cooperation with some governments in poor countries?

  377. #379 Africangenesis
    March 4, 2009

    Windy#370,

    I stand corrected. The study in question focuses on simulations demonstrating the plausibility of the hypothesis that a bias towards breeding within a culture can result in a level of inbreeding which results in a small effective population size without the population ever having had to go through a bottleneck of that population size. The simplified simulations used don’t eliminate competing groups or even use natural selection within groups.

    John Hawk’s blog puts the different hypotheses for explaining the small effective population size of modern humans in perspective. “Out of Africa” and hypotheses with an inbreeding component do involve the displacement or replacement of other groups.

  378. #380 Africangenesis
    March 4, 2009
  379. #381 Knockgoats
    March 6, 2009

    Hyperbole and lies. Believe it or not, corporations sometimes even bid against each other for labor, and compete for labor based upon working conditions and corporate culture and to be more “green”. Africangenesis

    “Wherever they can” was possibly an overstatement – but of course is quite compatible with corporations competing for labour when it is scarce – because then they can’t combine. However, there is strong selective pressure in the direction of avoiding such competition, as it reduces profits: those corporations that do not do so will tend to lose out to those that do. As for corporations competing to be more “green” – well yes, in the sense of greenwashing – appearing to be green; but not, in the vast majority of cases, in the sense of paying for the environmental damage they do, unless avoiding doing so has greater costs. Again, systemic selective pressures see to this – it’s not a matter of individual “evil capitalists”, but the logic of the capitalist system, which you have never shown any evidence whatever of understanding. I’m amused by your insolent claim that tax evasion and avoidance are public services.

    Have you ever been a stooge for corporate power, or perhaps had a close call? If so, how did you recognize it and perhaps avoid it?

    Quite simple – I’ve avoided mouthing corporate propaganda, such as your claim that tax avoidance and evasion are public services.

  380. #382 Knockgoats
    March 6, 2009

    “Out of Africa” and hypotheses with an inbreeding component do involve the displacement or replacement of other groups. – Africangenesis

    Once again, you elide the distinction between the general “replacement”, which implies nothing about the mechanisms involved, and the far more specific “displacement”: systematic killing or forcing out of previous groups of inhabitants. Of course the latter may have occurred, but in prehistoric cases it is very difficult to find evidence either way; and as I noted, Neves and colleagues do not claim to have any such evidence, and do not speculate on the mechanisms.

  381. #383 John.St
    March 21, 2009

    What’s da problem?

    We create ‘The Universal Church of Atheists’ and sue anyone who say anything against atheism.

  382. #384 Bug
    March 28, 2009

    Is this article the work of clairvoyants or something? Reuters claims the resolution was passed this week, but this blog post is from last month

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