West Point Prof Who Called For Killing Of Academics Opposed To US Terror War Resigns

from the poe's-law,-the-dissertation dept

Over the weekend, Spencer Ackerman published a fairly incredible story about a newly appointed West Point professor, William Bradford, who had written a paper, published in the National Security Law Journal, entitled Trahison Des Professeurs, in which he argues (among other things) that US academics who oppose current US anti-terror policy should themselves be targets for killing as a "fifth column."
In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.

“Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, [dissenting] scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism,” Bradford wrote.
The full text in that section is even worse than it sounds above. This is the rare case where putting things back into context makes it even crazier. It flat out argues that legal scholars who disagree with official US policy should be classified as "unlawful combatants." He first describes scholars who disagree with US policy as "CLOACA" standing for "critical law of armed conflict academy" and then this:
Treat CLOACA Scholars as Unlawful Combatants

CLOACA scholarship and advocacy that attenuates U.S. arms and undermines American will are PSYOPs, which are combatant acts. Consequently, if these acts are colorable as propaganda inciting others to war crimes, such acts are prosecutable. CLOACA members are thus combatants who, like all other combatants, can be targeted at any time and place and captured and detained until termination of hostilities. As unlawful combatants for failure to wear the distinctive insignia of a party, CLOACA propagandists are subject to coercive interrogation, trial, and imprisonment. Further, the infrastructure used to create and disseminate CLOACA propaganda—law school facilities, scholars’ home offices, and media outlets where they give interviews—are also lawful targets given the causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited. Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, CLOACA scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are—at least in theory—targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism.
Later in the piece he hits back on the expected criticism that this would be seen as an attack on academic freedom. Not at all, he insists:
This critique profoundly misrepresents academic freedom, which is not a sacrosanct right but a social contract in which the academic agrees to search diligently for and weigh all relevant information, specify assumptions, examine competing theories, and acknowledge epistemological and methodological limitations mitigating the strength of conclusions. In exchange, the people repose trust in, and grant continued employment to, the scholar, regardless of the destination(s) to which his search for truth leads. Academic freedom carries with it a “moral obligation to seek the facts without prejudice and to spread knowledge without malicious intent;” it is not a blanket grant of immunity from the consequences of politicized “scholarship” but a contractual license conferring the “freedom to say that two plus two make four.” Scholars who insist, in thrall to a hostile ideology, that two plus two make five are precluded from searching for truth. Just as Cold War Communist Party membership entailed uncritical repetition of Party dogma, calling into doubt whether professor-members were fit for their positions, so, too, does scholarship in which two plus two make five, and five benefits Islamists, suggests CLOACA should be evicted from the bunker of academic freedom.
In short: academic freedom means you are free to explore any topic, so long as the end result agrees with US policy, which is the undeniable "truth" like 2 plus 2. Anything else is heresy, aiding the enemy and punishable by death from above.

Basically "anything goes" so long as it's in the service of going after people Bradford doesn't like. It's "Poe's Law -- the dissertation."

Ackerman's story pointed out that Bradford, who only just started working at West Point, has a bit of a troubled history of exaggerating his own accomplishments.

In the paper, Bradford identifies himself as an “associate professor of law, national security and strategy, National Defense University”, seemingly his previous job before West Point. But a representative of the National Defense University said Bradford was a contractor at the prestigious Defense Department-run institution, “never an NDU employee nor an NDU professor”.

It appears not to be the first time Bradford misrepresented his credentials. He resigned from Indiana University’s law school in 2005 after his military record showed he had exaggerated his service. (Among his paper’s criticisms of supposedly treasonous lawyers is “intellectual dishonesty”.)

This all came out when the National Security Law Journal itself, a publication of George Mason University, put out a public apology for publishing the article in the first place:
As the incoming Editorial Board, we want to address concerns regarding Mr. Bradford’s contention that some scholars in legal academia could be considered as constituting a fifth column in the war against terror; his interpretation is that those scholars could be targeted as unlawful combatants. The substance of Mr. Bradford’s article cannot fairly be considered apart from the egregious breach of professional decorum that it exhibits. We cannot “unpublish” it, of course, but we can and do acknowledge that the article was not presentable for publication when we published it, and that we therefore repudiate it with sincere apologies to our readers.
The Journal also published a response from Jeremy Rabkin, the well known law professor at George Mason, who lit into those who decided to publish the paper in the first place:
In the Foreword to this issue of the journal, last year’s Editor-in-Chief does acknowledge that this new issue “will not be without controversy” and may be “discomforting at times.” The editor then offers the “hope” that “the diverse ideas you read here – even if you disagree – will prompt you to think and respond.” That doesn’t remotely address the problem.

When an article proposes to arrest law professors and bomb law schools and nearby TV studios, it’s not engaging in “controversy,” but slipping into an alternate universe. It’s not “discomforting.” It is bonkers. The journal could not reasonably have expected readers to “respond” – unless to ask, “Are you out of your minds?”
Given all this, it's not surprising that within a day of press attention being called to this whole thing, Bradford resigned from West Point, though it still calls into question why he was hired in the first place, seeing as the article itself was published long before he started at West Point. The article further notes that Bradford had previously lost academic positions for exaggerating his credentials (though he blamed it on those darn "liberal professors" trying to oust him), and also claims that he had some odd classroom behavior choices:
A former student who wished to remain anonymous said Bradford’s behavior included “doing push-ups in class [and] making students stand and give answers in a military-like manner”.

Bradford, the former student said, ended up leaving his class – and ultimately the college – without grading the final exam.
I imagine this latest shaming will also be spun into a story about how a "fifth column" of people who hate the US are really out to get Bradford. Frankly, I can't wait to see him try to spin this as an attack on his academic freedom, though someone could just quote his own words right back to him: "Academic freedom carries with it a “moral obligation to seek the facts without prejudice and to spread knowledge without malicious intent." Arguing for killing those who disagree with you seems, to me, to be a form of "malicious intent."
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Filed Under: academic freedom, drones, fifth column, free speech, west point, william bradford


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  1. identicon
    That One Other Not So Random Guy, 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:17pm

    Must... resist.... Godwin's Law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:27pm

    CLOACA

    That kind of acronym is for the birds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:34pm

    though it still calls into question why he was hired in the first place


    Uh, because great whacking chunks of the military are run by Christianist (the right kind of Christian, mind you) / Dominionist / authoritarian extremist warmongers, that's why. This guyis hardly unusual, excepting that he was showing his cards by waving them around from a fairly high position, and no one said "whoa, shhh", they posted his selfie instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:35pm

    ...the bunker of academic freedom

    This guy took waaaay too many shrooms back in college.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:37pm

    i wish this were more nutty than it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:41pm

    US treaties on this subject should be controlling. Everyone abroad and at home has the international covenant on civil and political rights at least. They should also have the universal declaration of human rights through the UN and Declaration on the duties and rights of man through the organization of American states along with other human rights treaties.

    If a persons behavior is covered by these accords, they should NOT be targeted or punished.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:47pm

    "Treat CLOACA Scholars as Unlawful Combatants CLOACA scholarship and advocacy that attenuates U.S. arms and undermines American will are PSYOPs, which are combatant acts."
    If you ask me, this dude's talking out of his cloaca! ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:57pm

    Now if only UC Berkeley would fire John "Torture Memos" Yoo

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:08pm

    Could we please get his opinion of that last Adam Sandler movie and what should be done about it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:15pm

    This critique profoundly misrepresents academic freedom

    And this rebuttal is an excellent example of moving the goalposts. Because what sane person would argue academic freedom in this case? All that's needed is freedom of speech. The fact that the person speaking is a "professor" and the medium is a "journal" does not magically transform freedom of speech into "academic freedom." In all honesty, I haven't heard the term academic freedom used outside of university administrations and totalitarian regimes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:19pm

    This just reinforces what I've been saying for a long time - when it comes to 'terrorism' many in the government have taken the attitude of "the ends justify the means". Unchecked, this can only lead to national if not global disaster. This is why the US government is turning on its own citizens...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:24pm

    Re: CLOACA

    Well yes. What kind of mind would shoehorn such a bad, contrived and tasteless pun into an academic paper.

    Maybe he was drunk at the time.

    Fun fact: a cloaca is a bird's anus.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:24pm

    Mirroring the Enemy

    Because the Islamists themselves take exactly this line (ie kill anyone who disagrees rather than arguing the point rationally) it does not justify our side taking the same line.

    If we want to win the moral or rational argument then we have to be better than them. To use violence in pursuit of an argument is to admit that you cannot win any other way. "Be not overcome of evil - but overcome evil with good"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:27pm

    Next Senator or Congressman

    Obviously he is just gathering the right wing military votes for when he runs for office...

    What Military Contractor or TLA boss wouldn't want this guy passing legislation.

    Torture isn't "illegal" once this guy is in office, it's just part of the "war" on terrorists (who apparently he defines as anyone who doesn't agree with the current government.

    Oh well, back to the doomsday bunker...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Richard (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:31pm

    Re:

    Christianist (the right kind of Christian, mind you)

    I thought Christians were supposed to "Love their enemies"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Richard (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:33pm

    Re:

    many in the government have taken the attitude of "the ends justify the means".
    Straight from the Stalinist playbook...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:40pm

    "US academics who oppose current US anti-terror policy should themselves be targets for killing as a "fifth column."

    Seriously? Spencer Ackerman should be arrested and charged with terroristic threats against American citizens. Calling for the murder of US Academics should be considered a terroristic threat. If any high school, university student or average American made such a remark, they would be arrested immediately and charged with making a terroristic threat against another person, which is considered to be a felony.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Christenson, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:44pm

    Better Question

    Who hired this cloaca? Who published him, rather conveniently at the end of his term as editor?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    tqk (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:45pm

    Re:

    Must... resist.... Godwin's Law.

    I was thinking more along the lines of Curtis LeMay, who guesstimated killing 20% of the population of Korea. I doubt the Nazis got anywhere near that number.

    And, correct me if I'm mistaken, but isn't "coercive interrogation" otherwise known as "torture?" Did he believe his job was to train future generations of war criminals?

    It's gratifying to see how quickly this guy was disowned, at least.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: CLOACA

    It's not just birds and it originally comes from the Latin word for sewer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:51pm

    I don't like Bradford because he doesn't use Oxford commas. That's reason enough to fire him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:51pm

    Re:

    You're a genius!! Hooray for you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    tqk (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:52pm

    Re: Re: CLOACA

    Fun fact: a cloaca is a bird's anus.

    It began by referring to Roman sewers ("A sewer; as, the Cloaca Maxima of Rome").

    "That's one honkin' big cloaca ya got there Nero." I doubt that would have gone over well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Vidiot (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: CLOACA

    First clue to look for some alternate significance: "critical law of armed conflict academy" has no inherent meaning whatsoever. Is there a Latin term for a professor who speaks out of his butthole?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: CLOACA

    Actually it's a combined anus and urinary tract in Birds, Reptiles Amphibians and some mammals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    ...*and* for doing the dirty ! ! !
    hee hee hee
    ho ho ho
    ha ha ha
    ak ak ak

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    tqk (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    By the way, why do we need a special word to refer to birds' anus? Is it doing anything different from any other instance of "anus?"

    This appears to be another instance of needless complexity and specialist jargon, along the lines of the medical profession's transition from gangrene, through necrotic to sphacerotic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    DocGerbil100 (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 4:04pm

    To paraphrase Grant Naylor, we know what to get him for Christmas: a double lobotomy and ten rolls of rubber wallpaper.

    How did anyone, anywhere think this man was fit to teach the next generation of servicemen?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 4:21pm

    This guy is the definition of extremist ,He should be kept far away from young impressionable minds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 4:35pm

    Isn't this exactly the sort of person the government should be keeping their eye on as someone that could potentially turn violent?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    tracyanne (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Re:

    They are also enjoined to "bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you". So I guess the US isn't a Christian nation, as many who profess to be be Christian claim.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 5:06pm

    His credentials...

    ...we should give this guy his own TV show. He could narrate the opening, something along the lines of "My IQ is 197..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    afn29129 (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 5:35pm

    No fly list....

    Seriously... If this person isn't on a no fly list...
    Damn that's one scary person.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 5:57pm

    Re:

    Spencer Ackerman wrote the news story about William Bradford, who wrote the extremist paper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    For some animals like the sea cucumber it's also a breathing tract.

    So this guy basically admitted that his mouth is also his asshole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    tqk (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:04pm

    Re:

    How did anyone, anywhere think this man was fit to teach the next generation of servicemen?

    West Point trains officers. You know, managers? His graduates were to be inflicted on service members.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Correct me if I'm mistaken, but torture isn't a war crime (or any other type of crime). After all, the President said flat out that "we tortured some folks," yet nobody was ever charged or prosecuted. This obviously means that torture, while frowned upon, is not in fact illegal.

    (I feel kinda bad that upon previewing what I've just written, I might actually need to use a [/sarc]-tag...)

    (Now I feel even worse, because I just realized that a picture of David Warner would make an excellent emoji to represent Sarkasm.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:28pm

    I guess when he said turn the other cheek he wasn't talking about the cheek on your face. Damned heathens, looks like we will all burn in hell for their arrogance. Or is it to ere is human, to forgive divine? Or possibly do unto others, and then split? Looks like our next war will be the war on the electorate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:35pm

    Dude sounds like a domestic terrorist, has he been added to all the appropriate lists?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:41pm

    Re:

    What a bastard. He did, however, manage to use the subjunctive properly. Gotta give him that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:44pm

    Re: His credentials...

    He should at least get to guest-star in an episode of Scorpion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:52pm

    Re:

    He is a terrorist, no doubt about it. He's calling for the extermination or reeducation of disloyal lawyers, academics, and journalists. That's straight-up Khmer Rouge territory.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    tqk (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    After all, the President said flat out that "we tortured some folks," yet nobody was ever charged or prosecuted. This obviously means that torture, while frowned upon, is not in fact illegal.

    Or, it just means that the USA has deprecated justice, and what it has is a legal system, not a justice system.

    Happily, though, there are other countries out there who do still strive for justice and once the USA finally goes the way of other empires of old, their historians will remember what happened.

    The Nazis believed they had a right to pull any damned fool thing they wanted too. The Allies invented laws after the war which led them to the gallows.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 7:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    @ 2:17pm "Must... resist.... Godwin's Law."

    @ 6:53pm "The Nazis believed they had a ...."

    4 hours and 36 minutes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm pretty sure that it was against Nazi rule to torture regular POWs. Only spies and civilians that qualified as untermenchen. Germans were law-abiding to a fault.

    Of course that didn't stop the SS from indulging in spoils of captured territories, and it didn't stop folks like Goering from carting off huge quantities of valuable art, but there were allies who'd do the same if they could. Absolute power and all that.

    But that's the thing. Even the Nazis respected the conventions of war more or less. The Bush Administration pretty much said fuck the Geneva Convention, which is why the US will torture just anyone.

    You or me, if some high-ranking official has a mind to make our respective lives too miserable to suffer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    Birds have only one excremental opening, i.e. their droppings are a mix of urine and feces.
    That's why birds have a cloaca while you (as a mammal) have a separate anus and urinary tract.
    So, yes, we DO need a special word for birds' pluming.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 9:11pm

    Mr. Bradford sounds like an extremist. He'd fit right in with those radicals in islam.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. icon
    Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 10:22pm

    Soooo… His answer to debate and dissent is terrorism? /s ;]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. icon
    Peter (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 10:27pm

    Tells us a lot about those in charge if they appoint this type of teacher to form the next generations of military leaders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. icon
    Valis (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 12:25am

    Re: Mirroring the Enemy

    You've got this completely arse-backwards. The US started attacking Islamic countries for no valid reason (using 9/11 as an excuse), indiscriminately slaughtering men, women and children in their millions. The "Islamists" are merely following the example of the savage, murderous USA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. icon
    schnick (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:00am

    Re:

    Not sure if your response was snarky, but ... Spencer Ackerman is the journalist who wrote about the wacky professor Bradford.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re: Mirroring the Enemy

    No - you got it Arse backwards

    The Islamists started attacking people with no valid reason in the 620's, 1200 years before the US even existed. They have never stopped since.

    They started attacking the US for no reason in the time of Thomas Jefferson.

    In reference to the Islamic slave trade of Americans and Europeans by the Barbary states, Jefferson asked Tripoli's envoy to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, by what right he extorted money and took slaves in this way. He answered:

    "The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:07am

    Middle east rage against the US is way older than the 2001 attacks.

    Unless you're talking about the Sabra and Shatila massacre of 1982, the US has been bombing the crap out of the middle east since long before 9/11. In fact this is partly why Bin Laden coordinated the attacks on 9/11/01 in the first place.

    Regardless, you're right, they have far more cause to hate and attack the US than the They want our freedoms! rhetoric might suggest. And our officials and elected representatives have proven to be exactly as despicable as they describe. The US has painstakingly earned every grain of outrage directed at us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:18am

    Conseqentialism is not necessarily a poor approach.

    I think the problem comes when they don't have an idea of what consequences they want, or are blindly heeding their own personal greed at the expense of the civilization around them.

    They'd rather be nobles in a petty banana dictatorship, rather than middle managers in an interplanetary republic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    Richard (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 3:03am

    Re: Conseqentialism is not necessarily a poor approach.

    I think the problem comes when they don't have an idea of what consequences they want

    No - I think the problem is that people who think that the end justifies the means don't fully understand how their actions wil play out.

    The Dalai Lama has said that he opposes violent resistance to Chinese occupation of Tibet because EVEN IF IT WAS SUCCESSFUL the end result would not be good. I don't think he fully understands how this would happen either - but I don't think he needs to. This is a basic moral principle that seems to exist in most religious systems (eg in Christianity - see Romans 3: 7-9) or if you don't like religion it is justified by the fact that most long term successful human systems have it somewhere - so in some sense it is proven to work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    Stephen, 2 Sep 2015 @ 3:21am

    Re: CLOACA

    Actually it apparently has a rather different meaning as Joseph N. DiStefano noted on philly.com!

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/West-Point-prof-Kill-lawyers-who-criti cize-US-forces.html
    "He [ie Bradford] refers to this group by the acronym CLOACA -- which (though he doesn't point this out) is also the Latin term for "sewer." Or "anus."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 3:25am

    Re: Middle east rage against the US is way older than the 2001 attacks.

    1982 !

    That's yesterday - the Islamist attacks have been going on for 1400 years!

    Now it is true that the Islamist agenda has found more ready listeners because of our bad behaviour - but the underlying ideology was invented by Muhammad in the 7th century. It most certainly isn't a response to US actions - it predates the US!

    Also please note that the US has bombed other places - such as Serbia - but there are no Serbian terrorists because the Serbs aren't Islamic - whereas the Kosovan Albanians are and are involved in terrorism against the US in spite of the fact that we bombed Serbia on their behalf!

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  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 3:33am

    An Academic Study

    This line caught my attention:

    We cannot “unpublish” it...

    Now, combine this story with the Right to be Forgotten vein and you could theorize the future:

    1) Professor writes crazy paper
    2) Professor gets fired
    3) Professor files right to be forgotten, since he's no longer employed and paper has been repudiated
    4) Wash and repeat as needed

    How's that for a horror story...

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  59. identicon
    Phil Anderer, 2 Sep 2015 @ 4:07am

    He Shouldn't Have Lost His Job!

    As repugnant as the content of his paper is, he shouldn't have lost his job. Freedom of thought, in all forms, needs preserving. This is for our own good. Colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning should be the marketplace of ideas- be they good ideas or bad ideas. A place where thoughts can be shared freely, to be examined, scrutinized, tested, reformulated and refined. Then, and only then, should they be accepted or rejected outright. All ideas should be attacked at their weaknesses in reason and logic, rather than dismissed in outrage. We must not continue this campaign against unpopular speech, because *YOU*, much like Mr. Bradford, don't get to personally decide what is popular/unpopular.

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  60. identicon
    me@me.net, 2 Sep 2015 @ 4:27am

    This guy is a terrorist

    plain and simple. The minute civilians are targeted by the Government on US soil as part of the "Terror war", they then are no different than the terrorists, its already potentially begun in North Dakota

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  61. icon
    lima6 (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 4:48am

    New career as a Fox News terrorism expert

    I would not be surprised to see this guy surface as a Fox News terrorism expert!

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  62. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 4:55am

    Re: He Shouldn't Have Lost His Job!

    Article said he resigned - that is a positive action on his part, not a negative action on the part of the college. Unless it can be shown that he was forced to submit a resignation, in which case, we have a different kettle to call black.

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  63. identicon
    Lisboeta, 2 Sep 2015 @ 5:21am

    Difference between Free Speech and Incitement?

    Bradford's treatise is utterly demented. If citizens are not allowed to question their government, on pain of incarceration or death, that is the classic definition of despotism, of a totalitarian state. Which is Stalin's, not Godwin's, law....

    And a lot of FUD being spouted here by folks who don't know much (any?) world history. The "last 1400 years" are hardly relevant to the topic but, if we're going there, what about the Crusades? (And I'm not talking about Dubya's.) For 200 years, hordes of European Christians -- emboldened by indulgences and a blanket forgiveness of sins -- were guilty of wholesale looting and carnage. That said, Christianity in general is no more synonymous with its fundamentalist loonies than Islam in general is synonymous with its own fundamentalist loonies.

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  64. icon
    Seegras (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 6:02am

    Re:

    This just reinforces what I've been saying for a long time - when it comes to 'terrorism' many in the government have taken the attitude of "the ends justify the means".

    That attitude comes straight from the terrorists playbook.

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  65. identicon
    Edward Teach, 2 Sep 2015 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    US treaties on this subject should be controlling.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, little buddy! "Political Rights" treaties generally aren't honored, only "Property" treaties (Berne Convention, TRIPPS, ACTA, TPP, TTIP, TISA) are honored! Are you some kind of communist or something, valuing humans over property (except when humans are property)?

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  66. icon
    nasch (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    So, yes, we DO need a special word for birds' pluming.

    And another one for their plumbing.

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  67. icon
    tqk (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 7:53am

    Re: He Shouldn't Have Lost His Job!

    We must not continue this campaign against unpopular speech, because *YOU*, much like Mr. Bradford, don't get to personally decide what is popular/unpopular.

    I'll defend his right to think and say any damned fool thing he wants. I deny his right that I pay him to do so. He can find a soapbox to climb onto and try to convince credulous others without my support.

    The guy was advocating assassinating teachers and broadcasters who supplied them a microphone. Next step, drone strikes targetting madrassas in Pakistan for material support of terrorism. Those madrassas may be frustrating, but mass murder is much worse than frustration.

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  68. icon
    nasch (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re:


    West Point trains officers. You know, managers? His graduates were to be inflicted on service members.


    Officers aren't service members? As in, members of the armed services?

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  69. icon
    tqk (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Officers aren't service members? As in, members of the armed services?

    I concede you're correct, but it's a bit of a lie, don't you think? In private business, managers aren't union members. Why should officers be considered mere staff members when it's convenient for them? In the military, we eschew the democratic, except when the officers need to hide within the ranks from snipers.

    They have their officers clubs, but I don't have to believe they're grunts. They're management, and today's officers don't lead from the front.

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  70. icon
    nasch (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I concede you're correct, but it's a bit of a lie, don't you think?

    Not at all, probably just a difference in terminology used by people inside and outside the military. I'd guess most people aren't even aware there's a difference between enlisted and officers, let alone what the difference is. To someone in the military does "service members" mean enlisted? I certainly wouldn't have guessed that.

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  71. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    " I'd guess most people aren't even aware there's a difference between enlisted and officers"

    I'll bet most people are aware there's a difference, thanks to so many movies and TV shows that include a grizzled sargent growling at being called sir and saying "I'm not an officer, I work for a living!"

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  72. icon
    tqk (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Don't call me sir! I work for a living!"

    How's an officer screw in a light bulb?

    "Sergeant!"

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  73. icon
    nasch (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'll bet most people are aware there's a difference, thanks to so many movies and TV shows that include a grizzled sargent growling at being called sir and saying "I'm not an officer, I work for a living!"

    Maybe, but I can only think of Officer and a Gentleman and Good Morning Vietnam offhand. But of course there are a billion movies and TV shows I haven't seen.

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  74. icon
    Padpaw (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 11:40am

    sounds like he would fit in with the people currently orchestrating the illegal wars congress never seems to authorize these last few years.

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  75. identicon
    Personanongrata, 2 Sep 2015 @ 11:51am

    So Much for Duty, Honor, Country

    There is a technical term used for defining cretins like West Point professor William C Bradford it is:

    batshit crazy

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  76. icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    Not gonna happen. Everyone who saw that movie pirated it, after all. ;)

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  77. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re:

    No, those are just some Christians. The ones who seek power and social control less often, on average.

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  78. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:15pm

    Deontological ethics are a good fallback when you don't know your end consequences.

    But I wouldn't count on them universally. The lying to hide Jews from Nazis example comes to mind. On a greater scale, if isolationism or pacifism in the US prevailed, the Jewish holocaust would probably have continued for longer, and the German war machine may not have been stopped after all.

    And the Dalai Lama has already proven his own susceptibility to human biases when he accused disaster victims of bad karma from prior lives. More than one Buddhist master has said you don't take their words as gospel because they are Buddha rather you regard them critically and accept them when they pass muster.

    In this case, I get his point. US justification for extrajudicial torture and mass surveillance runs contrary to the respect for human rights that was once fundamental to the people of the United States. Now, even if the US thrives, we thrive as a country that no longer has those values, and it will take years, maybe centuries of contrition and abstention before we can regain that moral identity.

    I think the end can justify the means if the benefits of the end result are more than the tragedy of the means. (Again, the lying to Nazis scenario comes to mind) But we are bad at foreseeing the outcome of our choices, especially in the long game, and will stampede into disaster when trying to act ethically as easily as when we choose to take unethical action.

    But if you put me in front of the streetcar paradox for sake of the five victims the poor fat man is so toast.

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  79. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:33pm

    To be fair...

    The prevalence of conservative, uncharitable, wealth-worshipping right-wing Christianity in the US has given me enough perspective to figure that not all Islam is necessarily militant segregationist as the media in the west likes to portray them.

    Yes, some of their scripture does point that out to that effect, but if so many Christians can pick and choose which of their scripture they can ignore, then it would make sense that Islam is that way as well.

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  80. icon
    tqk (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    So, yes, we DO need a special word for birds' plumbing.

    You ornithologists are welcome to complexify and jargonize all you want. I think the rest of us would be quite satisfied using the generally understood anus. It's where what's left of what goes in comes out.

    I'm not singling anyone out, btw. I'd love to see mathematicians give up on Greek, lawyers and physicians give up on Latin, & etc. I don't see what anyone gains by dragging dead languages around, other than to raise the bar to entry to a field by newcomers (competition).

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  81. icon
    nasch (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    It's where what's left of what goes in comes out.

    That is not an accurate description of your anus, since only some of it comes out that way.

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  82. identicon
    GEMont, 2 Sep 2015 @ 3:11pm

    Looking for that perfect job.

    Sounds to me like this guy is boning up his resume in the hopes of landing a job with the CIAF BIN SADOJ, as a policy writer, and internal policy director.

    And ye know, he's got a really good chance of getting the job. Secretly of course.

    These are not completely the isolated ramblings of a megalomaniac nut-case - well they are the ramblings of a megalomaniac nut-case, but they are not isolated or unique.

    There are many today who feel that the only way to insure the successful induction of Christian Ethics Control over the world's disparate populations is to destroy all competing ethos-based education and educators by the most effective means available - and usually the most painful means available as well.

    He will find many "birds of this feather" among the high ranking members of the Five Eyes Nation's Snoop and Scoop agencies, and their policy directors.

    ---

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  83. icon
    tqk (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    Hmm, well there's sweat glands and pores too, and tear ducts, nasal passages, saliva ducts, weeping sores, stab wounds, oh yeah and pee, but none of those handle solids (though the cruft around my eyes every morning and sometimes around my nose often suggest I rethink that).

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  84. icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mirroring the Enemy

    The Islamists started attacking people with no valid reason in the 620's, 1200 years before the US even existed.
    So the US didn't exist until the 1820's? Does that mean those thirteen former North American colonies of the UK were mistaken when they declared themselves the independent United States of America upon beginning the War of Independence in 1775?

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  85. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 12:10am

    The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    Um... I'm pretty sure that the militant Islamic groups of the 20th century have little to do with the Ottoman empire or the previous iterations of Islamic Araby.

    If you want to claim that they do, then it would be equally valid to claim that the Catholic Church carries with it the crimes against humanity while it ran roughshod over Western civilization for a millennium and a half, in which case Christianity has proven to have no love for the people except as a resource it can exploit for the benefit of the high clergy.

    Only in the 20th century have western civilizations had a sense that human rights should be extended to all of humanity, so it's hypocritical to expect better from other civilizations.

    As for the bombing of Serbia and Bosnia yes we did, but we never claimed to limit our wars to Islam, just that we've been hostile and making enemies in the middle east throughout the latter 20th century, so there's plenty of reason to hate on and attack the US by 2001-09-11.

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  86. icon
    blue skies (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 1:41am

    and contribute to the defeat of Islamism

    Someone needs to tell this guy the Crusades ended really long ago.

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  87. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 4:13am

    Re: To be fair...

    but if so many Christians can pick and choose which of their scripture they can ignore, then it would make sense that Islam is that way as well.

    It might make sense to you - but it isn't actually true.

    You may have a perspective derived from your experience of the US - but please bear in mind that during the 17th-19th centuries the UK exported its criminals to Australia and its religious nutjobs to America - so your perspective may not be a very accurate representation of Chrisitianity as a whole. (Btw it seems to me that the criminals worked out better in the long run!)

    What you seem to lack is a perspective on the middle east and the history of the years from 66 to 1066 (roughly).

    The expansion of Christianity was purely by verbal persuasion means up to around 300AD (by which time it was already around 10% of the population) and subsequently tended to follow the conversion of existing rulers.

    The expansion of Islam, by contrast was minimal in the first 10 years when only verbal persuasion was used. After that it was a mixture of bribery and violence reminiscent of the Mafia. This continued in fits and starts until about 1700 when the lack of scientific culture in Islam left them with inadequate weaponry compared to other nations.

    enough perspective to figure that not all Islam is necessarily militant segregationist as the media in the west likes to portray them.

    Actually, overall, the western media is rather soft on Islam - if you think different then you are correcting for media bias in the wrong direction. For example, in a recent article in the Daily Mail (hardly an Islam friendly newspaper) they still repeated the standard made up story of Mohammed being persecuted in Mecca, fleeing to Medina and then eventuially returning and forgiving his enemies.

    Actually he wasn't particularly persecuted in Mecca - he fled to Medina when he ran out of money after his (wealthy) wife died. In Medina he pursued the life of a thief and a warlord, he massacred a Jewish tribe and fought one battle every few months.

    His return to Mecca was violent - but he did spare the population - largely because they were his own tribe.

    The problem Islam has is that unlike Christianity it deosn't have a peaceful past to return to. The Peaceful Islam that is often presented in the west is a recent fabrication designed to fool people who aren't prepared to go and look at the source information themselves.

    However I suggest you look at this document - written by an Iranian former Muslim who knows far more about the subject thatn you or I.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/100132969/Short%20biography.pdf

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  88. icon
    Padpaw (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 4:32am

    Re: Looking for that perfect job.

    I surprised he didn't include wiping out all the sub human scum in his ramblings

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  89. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 4:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Mirroring the Enemy

    !200+/- 50

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 4:52am

    Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    I'm pretty sure that the militant Islamic groups of the 20th century have little to do with the Ottoman empire or the previous iterations of Islamic Araby.

    I'm pretty sure that you are wrong there. If you ask them they will claim that they are.

    then it would be equally valid to claim that the Catholic Church carries with it the crimes against humanity while it ran roughshod over Western civilization for a millennium and a half,

    The Roman Catholic Church - is not and never has been "Christianity". Its behaviour since the time when the popes began to take on temporal power ( definitively in 1054) has admittedly been poor at times - by its own standards. But the point is that when it behaved badly it was not following its own teaching - whereas the Islamists are following their prophet's example.

    Only in the 20th century have western civilizations had a sense that human rights should be extended to all of humanity,

    No - that idea has been around much longer - it is expressed in the old testament.

    s for the bombing of Serbia and Bosnia

    You missed the point there. On your theory the Serbs should have attacked the west - but they didn't - which is the point.

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  91. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 6:13am

    Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    it's hypocritical to expect better from other civilizations.

    How patronising - and how insulting to all the other faith groups in the middle east who don't behave like the Islamists.

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  92. icon
    nasch (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CLOACA

    True, but then you didn't mention solids earlier.

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  93. icon
    nasch (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    No - that idea has been around much longer - it is expressed in the old testament.

    What about the parts where non-Jews approaching the tabernacle were to be slain? Or how it was OK to own slaves as long as they weren't Jewish? Not to mention all the ways women are treated differently than men. Maybe I haven't gotten to the "human rights for everyone" part of the Old Testament yet.

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  94. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    What about the parts where non-Jews approaching the tabernacle were to be slain? etc etc

    I didn't say that there weren't any contradictory ideas in the old testament - just that the human rights idea is there.

    Here it is in Exodus 22: 21-23

    "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
    Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.

    If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;"



    The Old Testament is a disparate collection from 1000+ years of history. It appears very inconsistent in places -

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  95. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 9:37am

    A peaceful past to return to.

    I don't believe Christianity has such a thing either.

    This is one of the problems I've seen with the whole dialog. Much of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that I see comes from people who have demonstrated, time and again, that they would gladly oppress the rest of us if they had the power of force to do so, and in large swaths of the world, they do just that.

    Here in the US, we have hold as undeniable a freedom of religion, that is to believe and practice as you will so long as it doesn't transgress on the rights of others. (As per the ninth amendment.) So it is not our place to prosecute practicing Muslims. It's our place to prosecute those who attack others. The ideology that might drive them to do so is irrelevant.

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  96. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 9:59am

    The Roman Catholic Church - is not and never has been "Christianity"

    Um...for most of the last two Millennia it has. It's only schismed in the last five hundred years giving it at least a good thousand years of iron-fisted control of Western civilization. You may be referring to the Greek and Russian orthodoxies, but even those were tolerated only because they were out of the reach of Rome's crusaders, and they ruled their own dominions with the same degree of absolutism.

    Christianity has only in recent times become the diverse range of beliefs that it is, and even then, when it comes to us non-Christians, preachers and ministers like to talk about all of Christendom as if it were still a united front against those of us outside the faith.

    And no, the old testament has Yahweh ordering the Hebrews to wipe out other tribes to the last child and cattle. Genocide is contrary to the extension of human rights to all of Humanity. If this were a Mosaic value, then Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared and the flood would have never taken place.

    Those of us outside the faith regard the old god by His actions, not His footnotes, and certainly not modern interpretations of His footnotes.

    Regarding the Serbs attacking the west (or not) that would be determined not by singular matters of whether or not the US bombed them. They may never had the means and opportunity, and they may have had cause to forgive us, and they may have other issues that took priority (e.g. annihilating the Bosnians).

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  97. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    Uriel-238: It's hypocritical to expect better from other civilizations.

    Anonymous Coward: How patronising - and how insulting to all the other faith groups in the middle east who don't behave like the Islamists.

    Do elaborate, please.

    Are you saying that we should hold Muslims to a higher standard than we hold ourselves?

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  98. icon
    nasch (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 10:43am

    Re: The Roman Catholic Church - is not and never has been "Christianity"

    If this were a Mosaic value, then Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared and the flood would have never taken place.

    I'm not sure those are the best examples since they were about iniquity, not about not being Jewish. The stuff about the Jews wiping out their enemies so that they could take their lands is a much more relevant point.

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  99. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 11:28am

    Re: A peaceful past to return to.

    I don't believe Christianity has such a thing either.

    Soryy - it is pretty clear that Christianity during the years 33-300 was peaceful.

    Also the contrast with the first Islamic century is pretty stark.

    Here in the US, we have hold as undeniable a freedom of religion, that is to believe and practice as you will so long as it doesn't transgress on the rights of others.

    Which isn't enough for Islam - they demand the right to be the lead religion and to control or suppress all others.

    Much of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that I see comes from people who have demonstrated, time and again, that they would gladly oppress the rest of us if they had the power of force to do so,

    Firstly this is an argument ad hominem.

    Secondly I simply do not see it as true.

    Most of the anti-muslim rhetoric I see comes from ex-muslims. How you contrive to fit them into that category defeats me.

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  100. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 11:47am

    Re: The Roman Catholic Church - is not and never has been "Christianity"

    Um...for most of the last two Millennia it has. It's only schismed in the last five hundred years giving it at least a good thousand years of iron-fisted control of Western civilization.

    I think you have a distorted view of the degree of control that was even possible in those days. In any case the church was often the defender of the ordinary people against the civil power which was trying to exercise control.

    Those of us outside the faith regard the old god by His actions,
    You don't believe he exists - so that sentence makes no sense.
    And no, the old testament has Yahweh ordering the Hebrews to wipe out other tribes to the last child and cattle. Genocide is contrary to the extension of human rights to all of Humanity. If this were a Mosaic value, then Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared and the flood would have never taken place.

    I never said that everything in the OT was consistent with human rights. I merely said that the idea exists in the text and thus predates the 20th century by a long time.

    Regarding the Serbs attacking the west (or not) that would be determined not by singular matters of whether or not the US bombed them. They may never had the means and opportunity,


    They had at least as much means and opportunity as the Islamists - may be more since they aren't so obvious.

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  101. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    Are you saying that we should hold Muslims to a higher standard than we hold ourselves?

    No you said that it was hypocritical to hold them to a higher standard that that which we held ourselves to until the 20th century - so it seemed to me that you were prepared to excuse them on the grounds that they were somehow backward and could be judged by an "old" standard.

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  102. icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Mirroring the Enemy

    You're gonna have to put that in English because I'm just not getting it.

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  103. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 2:57pm

    I'm really peeved at the "Unlawful Combatants" bit.

    Anonymous Coward: I think you have a distorted view of the degree of control that was even possible in those days.

    Whole populations, from the lowest serf to the king were tithing faithfully. All were terrified of the threat of hellfire and under that divine sword went to confession diligently and confessed their innermost secrets. It was a medieval surveillance state. Excommunication was regarded as a very real threat. This was the pre-Newtonian age, before we had much in the way of understanding nature, and the supernatural was not a niche notion.

    On what do you base your opinion otherwise?

    Anonymous Coward: In any case the church was often the defender of the ordinary people against the civil power which was trying to exercise control.

    [citation needed.] Also, not consistently, as demonstrated by the crusades and Holy Inquisition (now the CDF, incidentally), not to mention the corruption and indulgences of the clergy. you don't get to point to one virtuous nun, or even ten thousand, and expect the crimes of the church to be forgotten.

    In fact, the recent cover-up by the Vatican of the child sexual abuse scandal indicates that, like most established institutions, the Vatican would gladly hide their scandals for protection of the reputation of the cloth, rather than owning their crimes and answering to the laws of the land.

    Why would I expect the church would behave differently at any other time? Why would I expect any church or ideological institution to be have differently?

    (Similarly I wouldn't point to US humanitarian aid programs or and expect our Extrajudicial Detention and Interrogation program to be dismissed as inconsequential.)

    Uriel-238: Those of us outside the faith regard the old god by His actions

    Anonymous Coward: You don't believe he exists - so that sentence makes no sense.

    Not sure the point of your attempt at pedantry, except to waste my time. Is this, to you, a competitive exercise in debate? Is this an apologetic strategem?

    Some of us are interested in actually delineating the limits of knowledge. Some of us have minds to change.

    To clarify your assertion, some of us are skeptical that Yahweh exists and expect a literal interpretation of the bibles is highly improbable. Among ourselves, that would make discussing Yahweh's character a Socratic exercise, but still one on which we can opine.

    However, in this case, the dialogue includes others who might regard biblical interpretations as literal truth, or at least based on factual accountings. That makes it more than supposition, considering it raises the possibility that a) some actually believe that Yahweh's crimes against humanity took place, b) condone them and c) would condone or even encourage similar crimes done in His name. Weapons of Mass Destruction, much?

    During WWII, Hitler's interest in keeping his strategies auspicious according to horoscopes and other occult portents elevated the discussion of astrology by Allied intelligence to more than a mere thought experiment. The bible and religious doctrine are still used to justify discriminaton against races, gays and women, and denial of scientific knowledge such as Climate Change and Evolution. Scripture is, thus, a relevant topic despite how I might doubt its factual basis.

    Anonymous Coward: I never said that everything in the OT was consistent with human rights. I merely said that the idea exists in the text and thus predates the 20th century by a long time.

    Saw the Exodus 22: 21-23 passage. I stand corrected. Now if only we had anyone, Abrahamic or not that would actually recognize that.

    And we still have the issue of God drowning people or firebombing people or sending the Hebrews to mistreat and oppress foreigners until they're good and dead.

    Sentiments of do as i say, not as I do do not fly, and even the OT warns against those who don't walk their own talk.

    It was only in the twentieth century that human rights have been committed to charter, and all races across the Earth are regarded as actual human beings. Even this is dubious given that large swaths of the American people like to pretend black Americans are closer Chimpanzees than Homo-Sapiens (regardless of scientific evidence to the contrary) but we generally won't hear an elected representative say so while on video.

    Even the ethic of reciprocity doesn't mean squat if it's possible to discount someone as inhuman such as an untermenschen or an unlawful combatant.

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  104. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2015 @ 3:30pm

    NATIONALISM

    What you guys are arguing is really about nationalism rather than religion.
    I mean it's about the artificial/arbitrary national boundaries that have been superimposed by conflict over established religious/cultural boundaries.
    Shoehorn 2 or 3 religious groups into 1 country and shit gonna happen.

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  105. icon
    Richard (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 5:01pm

    Re: I'm really peeved at the "Unlawful Combatants" bit.

    Whole populations, from the lowest serf to the king were tithing faithfully. All were terrified of the threat of hellfire and under that divine sword went to confession diligently and confessed their innermost secrets. ....


    but confession is a complete parenthesis - it is absolutely forbidden for the priest to divulge its content to anyone - even to mention it to the person who confessed outside confession itself.

    Civil authorites have long complained about this.

    On what do you base your opinion otherwise?

    What we have from history is heavily biased towards "important people". It also concentrates on anomlaous events - so it is a poor guide to the lives of ordinary people.

    The good examples are there too though - such as St Hugh of Lincoln protecting the Jews in his diocese.

    a) some actually believe that Yahweh's crimes against humanity took place, b) condone them and c) would condone or even encourage similar crimes done in His name. Weapons of Mass Destruction, much?

    ON this issue I would point out that if God exists and is omnipotent then everything bad that happens is His responsibility and he would be hugely guilty even without any of that specific stuff having happened. His supposed crimes in the OT don't make any difference to that basic problem. The issue is addressed in the book of Job- which brings me to the other point about the OT.

    Look at it as a detailed description of how to behave and it does look pretty bad - but each of the stories does have a point. Take Sodom and Gomorrah. Before they were destroyed Abraham pleaded with God asking if he would destroy the just with the unjust. He started off "if there were 40 good men in the city would you destroy them" No says God and then Abraham keeps lowering the number - but every time God says No. Eventually Abraham realises where this is going and gives up.

    In this context God striking someone down is no different to the weather striking you down - or an earthquake.

    However when God appeared as a man He didn't do any of that stuff - so clearly there is no licence for his followers to do it either.

    The bible and religious doctrine are still used to justify discriminaton against races, gays and women, and denial of scientific knowledge such as Climate Change and Evolution. Scripture is, thus, a relevant topic despite how I might doubt its factual basis.

    As are (misunderstanding of) evolutionary theory itself (one of the inspirations behind Nazism - sorry about the Godwin), and other scientific and political theories.

    Bad people will abuse whatever ideas have traction in their locality. It doesn't make the ideas bad.

    The Roman empire saw how Christianity was spreading and jumped onto the bandwagon themselves - but they didn't immediately discard their old Roman power politics with all its brutality. What has followed over 1700 years has been a bit of a to and fro between church and state - and occasionally as in Rome - the church leaders have tried to be the state - or as in protestant countries the state has taken over the church. In either case the church will be morally compromised - hence some of the things which you complain about - although I do think you exaggerate.


    Coming back to Islam - the difference here is that "church" and state were one from the very beginning - and the demand that they be so is burned into the core of that faith.
    It was only in the twentieth century that human rights have been committed to charter, and all races across the Earth are regarded as actual human beings.


    There is an organisation of Islamic COuntries at the UN they have their own declaration of human rights - which dilutes the regiular one by inserting sharia as a guiding principle that can negate rights that conflict with it. There is no Organisation of Christian countries (or Catholic countries or protestant countries or Orthodox countries to compare with it.)

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  106. icon
    Richard (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 5:07pm

    Re: I'm really peeved at the "Unlawful Combatants" bit.

    By the way - I'm appalled at the unlawful combatants bit too. In fact I'm appalled by what the western governments have done militarily over the last 30 years or so. Sometimes it has been well intentioned (but often not) and always it has been poorly thought through. The result has been disaster for religious minorities in the region (and that includes atheists as well as Christians Yazidis, Zoroastrians etc.

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  107. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 1:57am

    We fly together. We fall together.

    TL DR: Any ideology is going to be utilized by demagogues and seized by the laity as justification for violence and bigotry regardless of its original intent. It is folly to blame the message of Islam for its radicals just as it would be the message of Christianity or Capitalism or Peter Cottontail, since they're all going to be ultimately interpreted the same way: You are special. They are the cause of your woes. Kill them and all will be better. To fix this we will have to change the nature of ideology itself, if such a thing is even possible.

    Richard: ...confession is a complete parenthesis - it is absolutely forbidden for the priest to divulge its content to anyone - even to mention it to the person who confessed outside confession itself. Civil authorites have long complained about this.

    Richard, you're not new to TechDirt. I don't buy it. I can't see how you could buy it either, given how we've seen human nature to play out right here.

    We've yet to see any establishment, whether church, state or commercial able to successfully keep to the spirit of their own ethics, and like our boys in blue, the cloth allows for good faith exceptions. I would expect that confessions-of-interest wouldn't acted upon by the one who heard it but rather escalated upwards through the church and then managed through auxillary parties.

    That intelligence and espionage services were handled through the cloth is not a recent revelation. And given how the church managed kiddy-fiddlers in the 21st century, I have no reason to imagine the clergy were less surrepititious in the 16th or 11th or 6th.

    Richard: What we have from history is heavily biased towards "important people". It also concentrates on anomlaous events - so it is a poor guide to the lives of ordinary people.

    So are you saying that people didn't fear the fires of Hell more than death itself? Are you saying that the church was lenient in the tithes it demanded from the entire heirarchy? That men of the cloth were somehow angels? My understanding of medieval history is that no-one respected the rabble and the shit rolled onto them.

    I suspect you are indulging in a bit of hagiography.

    Uriel-238: a) some actually believe that Yahweh's crimes against humanity took place, b) condone them and c) would condone or even encourage similar crimes done in His name. Weapons of Mass Destruction, much?

    Richard: ...In this context God striking someone down is no different to the weather striking you down - or an earthquake...

    Even if you are saying that you personally believe that God has no agency even in incidents where He visited judgement upon humankind (which is an interesting supposition), I doubt that many other Christians agree with you, and they use God's agency to justify their own.

    Richard: The issue is addressed in the book of Job...

    There's an old Buddhist saying: Everyone's a biblical scholar when it comes to scripture they don't like. If you're going to accept that some of the bible is not applicable in the modern era, or that some of the bible is allegory, or that some of the bible can be otherwise disregarded or put into special context, then you have to allow for the same to be done for every other sacred text. Including the Koran.

    If you're going to yank out chapter and verse from the Koran to pass judgement on Islam, you're going to have to accept that literal interpretations of the bible, old and new testament, are going to be used to pass judgement on Christianity, even the denomination to which you belong.

    Regardless of whatever the lesson allegedly is regarding Sodom and Gamorah, the fact is God still passed judgment on the people of both cities and firebombed them the way we did Dresden and Tokyo...or maybe it was more like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was divine freakin' wrath. In that case, it wasn't nature signing the order. It wasn't an earthquake pushing the button. It wasn't a sea gull flapping its wings that decided there were no children in Sodom worth saving.

    (If you want, you can blame Port Royale on the Gonâve microplate rather than God's will to annihilate a city.)

    Richard: However when God appeared as a man He didn't do any of that stuff - so clearly there is no license for his followers to do it either.

    That doesn't logically follow. Christian ministers still use the threat of What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah to warn their flock about allowing gays to exist unimpeded.

    I'm not, however, asking you to defend those who use scripture or religious dogma to justify bigotry, though. See below.

    Uriel-238: The bible and religious doctrine are still used to justify [discrimination] against races, gays and women...

    Richard: As [is] (misunderstanding of) evolutionary theory itself (one of the inspirations behind Nazism...)

    It's actually inappropriate to relate social Darwinism to the Nazi platform given that the notion was rampantly popular throughout all of western civilization, as were eugenics, phrenology and scientific racism and antisemitism with the zeal of lets exterminate all the Jews. The Nazis merely got proactive about what doing something about everyone else was thinking at the time. As much as Nazism is paraded around (and parodied) as an iconic evil, we're still hesitant to acknowledge that they were only slightly more evil than the rest of us, and maybe that's because they just got to business first.

    The thing is, any ideology, religious or otherwise (even New Atheism) will be used by the laity to justify their own beliefs in their own elitism and the scapegoating of other people. This is a psychological phenomenon that proves universal through all populations, religious or otherwise, some of which will be driven to fanatic and often violent action.

    Now, if you're just interested in defending Christianity and disparaging Islam, there's nothing left to discuss. There are jerks and kind people among both demographics, and yes I've already heard the arguments about how one scripture is more violent than the next. Frankly, it's bullocks. Both sides choose from their own scripture which to heed. And while we have much outcry for the ten commandments to be posted on courtroom grounds, the suggestion of hanging the beatitudes is only a meek counter-suggestion.

    People like to hear that they are the chosen ones and to hate on the other guy. And we need to cut that shit out.

    Richard: Bad people will abuse whatever ideas have traction in their locality. It doesn't make the ideas bad.

    Let me fix that for you: People will abuse whatever ideas have traction in their locality. It doesn't make the ideas or the people bad (at least it doesn't make any given people any worse than any other given people). The minute that you decide that a given people is bad, or that a given religion is bad or that a given ideology is bad, you've lost already.

    To borrow language from Donald Rumsfeld, You build a civilization with the people you have, not the people you wish you had. You can either curse the common people for being ignorant and bigoted and violent, or you can start brainstorming for ways to get them to govern themselves despite themselves. (Or you can decide that such a thing is impossible and that we're doomed to never ascend above what our primate instincts allow.) If you choose to cling to the dogma of our traditional religions, however, those are assured to be seized by demagogues for their own glorification.

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  108. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 2:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    No, I was saying that western civilization failed to recognize human rights and their applicability to all of homo-sapiens until (at earliest) the 20th century, so it's hypocritical of those of us in the west to pass judgment on other civilizations for failing to figure it out sooner.

    Western expansionism was still going on in the 20th century, so I'm not sure how we can fault people from Araby for attacking people randomly in the 620s.

    In fact, Western expansionism continues, only it's corporate expansionism, and rather than seeking to make territories into colonies, we build factories there, use the locals for cheap (slave) labor and hire mercenaries to enforce the will of the companies.

    So really, for allowing that sort of thing from happening, we can't even fault Somalian pirates, let alone many of the factions we call terrorists that feature agendas with humanitarian goals. (Often just not the humans we want assisted.)

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  109. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 3:31am

    Logical Fallacies and how to identify them.

    Uriel-238: I don't believe Christianity has [a peaceful past to return to] either.

    Anonymous Coward: [Sorry] - it is pretty clear that Christianity during the years 33-300 was peaceful.

    What? According to the history of Christianity that I know, they were hardly peaceful ever. Early Christians schismed into countless factions that warred against each other as well as the established monolatrist religions. So they were massacred both by each other and by others for being dangerous cults. That only stopped after Constantine the Great edited the gospels with his own Apollonian slant and forced all of Christendom to accept his version or die. A lot of them died.

    That is not what I would call peaceful.

    Uriel-238: Here in the US, we have hold as undeniable a freedom of religion, that is to believe and practice as you will so long as it doesn't transgress on the rights of others.

    Anonymous Coward: Which isn't enough for Islam - they demand the right to be the lead religion and to control or suppress all others.

    Well, we do have Muslims in the US. Maybe they all stay awake at night lamenting their failure to kill enough infidels, but that is not the impression I get. Also, they're kinda oppressed over here, given that much of the country wants to blame every individual one of them for the 9/11 attacks, so they may have priorities other than killing infidels, like not getting killed, themselves.

    In the meantime, we also have plenty of Christians who believe that non-Christians, gays and ambitious women all should be imprisoned or executed. Sometimes they get their way, or take such law into their own hands.

    Uriel-238: Much of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that I see comes from people who have demonstrated, time and again, that they would gladly oppress the rest of us if they had the power of force to do so,

    Anonymous Coward: Firstly this is an argument ad hominem.

    Not really. I'm not attacking you personally. It's closer to poisoning the well, and would be if I said that anyone who says something anti-Muslim secretly means to oppress you and should be disregarded.

    Even then, I'm not saying that anti-Muslim-rhetoric-speaking would-be oppressors are wrong because they are would-be oppressors, or even that their anti-Muslim rhetoric is wrong. I'd have to address each anti-Muslim statement individually for its wrongness or not.

    It's sort of a tu quoque in that I'm saying that when I've heard anti-Muslim sentiments it comes from people who (appear to) have the same intentions as the ones they're accusing. But before I am guilty of a logical fallacy we should get down to specific arguments. So this is a conversation as I see it might unfold:

    Some guy: Islam wants [Some Muslims want] to force everyone to convert to Islam and kill all that do not.

    Uriel-238 (wishing he had more coffee): I am convinced that is likely to be true. But also some Muslims do not hold that sentiment. And, many non-Muslims want everyone to conform to their respective ways of life and kill or imprison those that don't. So I don't see Muslims as particularly unique on that point.

    Maybe that clarifies my position better.

    Anonymous Coward: Secondly I simply do not see it as true. Most of the anti-Muslim rhetoric I see comes from ex-Muslims.

    The amazing thing here is these two events can happen and not actually conflict:

    a) Most of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that Uriel-238 sees comes from would-be oppressors.

    b) Most of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that Anonymous Coward sees comes from ex-Muslims.

    The easiest hypothesis that accounts for both observations would be to imagine a Venn diagram of ex-Muslims and would-be oppressors that has some crossover.

    But I suspect ex-Muslims are not really of the oppressey type.

    More likely, I would attribute it to a difference in the range of media that we watch. I live in the US, and a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric comes from angry Americans who blame the 9/11 attacks on all Muslims, or who think that all Muslims are part of terrorist cells. Another subset of anti-Muslim speakers from which I hear are New Atheists who associate Islam with outrageous narratives and Shariah law.

    Now I'm no fan of Shariah law, especially the extreme gender segregation that is a part of it, but I've also encountered Muslims who do not practice Shariah law nor do they wish to enforce Shariah law on anyone that doesn't want to be part of it.

    I will admit that to my abject horror, liberal Christian denominations such as Unitarians -- who exhibit a very measured view of faith -- are in the extreme minority. It may be that liberal Muslims are also very few. I don't know and don't have statistics to look at. But what I do know is that people should have the right to believe what they want, so long as they don't act to impose those beliefs on those who don't consent to them.

    So when some guy gets all radical and shoots a girl in the face because she wants an education, we don't need to prosecute him for being a Muslim or even for not liking little girls who want to go to school. We need to prosecute him for shooting a girl in the face. Shooting little girls in the face is a wrong bad thing no matter what the reason is someone might have for doing so.

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  110. icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 4:16am

    Re: The Roman Catholic Church - is not and never has been "Christianity"

    Christianity has only in recent times become the diverse range of beliefs that it is, and even then, when it comes to us non-Christians, preachers and ministers like to talk about all of Christendom as if it were still a united front against those of us outside the faith.
    Not Unitarian ministers; in our church we not only recognise the existence of beliefs other than our own, we respect people's right to have them as well. An atheist can attend a service and walk out still an atheist, there'll be no attempts made to convert them. :)

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  111. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re: The Roman Catholic Church - is not and never has been "Christianity"

    I actually have great admiration for Unitarianism, which solidly acknowledges Jesus' message for inclusiveness and tolerance.

    Not that we have a shortage of Unitarians in San Francisco, but I do wish there were more of you.

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  112. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2015 @ 2:01pm

    Re: We fly together. We fall together.

    I would expect that confessions-of-interest wouldn't acted upon by the one who heard it but rather escalated upwards through the church and then managed through auxillary parties.
    What you would expect does not constitute valid historical evidence.
    Are you saying that the church was lenient in the tithes it demanded from the entire heirarchy? That men of the cloth were somehow angels? My understanding of medieval history is that no-one respected the rabble and the shit rolled onto them.
    Mostly in those days tithes were paid to the church by princes and wealthy noblemen. Ordinary people paid what was effectively rent to their landlord- usually in kind because they rarely had cash anyway.

    You seem to be very hard on anyone who disparages cultures from different places - but happy to do it to people from different times.

    It's actually inappropriate...and maybe that's because they just got to business first.

    Confused thinking - what you say actually agrees totally with my point - but you claim it doesn't - how odd.


    It is folly to blame the message of Islam for its radicals

    No - it is folly to be so ignorant of Islamic history and of the life of their prophet that you think such a statement is even vaguely tenable.

    You seriously need to go talk to some ex-muslims, or some Copts who have had to live alongside Islam for over 1000 years.

    Even atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins agree with me on that point.


    If you're going to accept that some of the bible is not applicable in the modern era, or that some of the bible is allegory, or that some of the bible can be otherwise disregarded or put into special context, then you have to allow for the same to be done for every other sacred text. Including the Koran.

    The core of this is not that we simply want to discard some texts and keep others - it is that the texts themselves are clearly contradictory. Now you might say that the contradictions mean that the religion is not true - and I would accept that as a tenable position - but it doesn't prove that the religion has a negative effect on the world. To resolve that you need to see how the religion itself resolves the contradictions. Now the New Testament says, in several places, that the whole OT can be summed up as "Love God and your neighbour as yourself" (it also says that loving your neighbour is at condition for loving God).

    These statements are made prominently by Jesus himself so the must carry more weight than the OT.

    The Koran is also self contradictory - how the contradictions are resolved varies according to whether you belong to an orthodox Sunni or Shia group - or to a fringe group like the Ahmadis. However the vast majority of muslims today officially belong to mainstream sunni Islam - and that branch believes that the later verses supersede the earlier. There is a statement to that effect in the Koran itself - and the later are the more violent.


    People like to hear that they are the chosen ones and to hate on the other guy. And we need to cut that shit out.


    Thank you -you have just expressed Christianity in a nutshell. Here is Silouan a Russian monk who lived on Athos:
    "I remember a conversation between [Silouan] and a certain hermit who declared with evident satisfaction,
    ‘God will punish all atheists. They will burn in everlasting fire.’
    Obviously upset, [Silouan] said,
    ‘Tell me, supposing you went to paradise, and there you looked down and saw someone burning in hell-fire – would you feel happy?’
    ‘It can’t be helped. It would be their own fault,’ said the hermit.
    [Silouan] answered him in a sorrowful countenance:
    ‘Love could not bear that,’ he said. ‘We must pray for all.’"

    - this was during the 1920s when state atheism in the USSR was murdering Christians in their thousands.

    Now, if you're just interested in defending Christianity and disparaging Islam,

    A rather rough and inaccurate representation of what I am about here.

    You however seem to be intent on attacking Christianity and defending Islam.

    If you choose to cling to the dogma of our traditional religions, however, those are assured to be seized by demagogues for their own glorification.

    This history of the 20th century - and your own earlier comments would indicate that traditional religions are no worse than more modern ideologies in this respect. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol-Pot, Mao.

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  113. icon
    Richard (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: The Roman Catholic Church - is not and never has been "Christianity"

    An atheist can attend a service and walk out still an atheist, there'll be no attempts made to convert them. :)

    Doesn't sound like you have a very convincing message, does it? /joke

    Actually in my church the problem is often that some clergy will actively try to persuade people not to join!

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  114. icon
    Richard (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    No, I was saying that western civilization failed to recognize human rights and their applicability to all of homo-sapiens until (at earliest) the 20th century, so it's hypocritical of those of us in the west to pass judgment on other civilizations for failing to figure it out sooner.

    I would say that the Greek/Roman/Jewish/Christian civilisation of which what you call "western civilisation" is but a part recognised the concept of universal rights very early. IN fact the Roman empire was successful precisely because of this. It has however failed to implement it consistently at any time - including now.

    I think we are foolish to assume that we are better at it now than people were in the 7th century for any reason other than the fact that we have a bigger economic surplus than earlier times and hence it is more affordable now.

    Having said that I also think that it has actually been in retreat since the election s of Thatcher and Reagan in 1979/80.

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  115. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2015 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    so I'm not sure how we can fault people from Araby for attacking people randomly in the 620s.

    We can do it by comparing muslim behaviour to the behaviour of their contemporaries and their immediate predecessors in Mecca itself.

    Mecca was a model of tolerant - multi-faith society before Mohammed. He trashed all that and turned it into a monoculture ruled by fear.

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  116. icon
    Richard (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 2:53pm

    Re: We fly together. We fall together.

    I would expect that confessions-of-interest wouldn't acted upon by the one who heard it but rather escalated upwards through the church and then managed through auxillary parties.

    I challenge you to quote any historical case where this happened.

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  117. identicon
    GEMont, 4 Sep 2015 @ 3:55pm

    Re:

    Sorry to be the one to pop your bubble Blue Skies, but the Crusades never ended.

    The war between the Ultimate Con-Gamers, to own the Only Way to Heaven and the key to controlling all who fear death, has long ago gone political, and is thus harder to detect with its veneer of "save the children" and "for your own good" firmly in place.

    According to the records, of the 1000 or more recorded wars in human history, only one or two was started for a reason other than religion.... usually food or water.

    Its the ultimate war drug and population control tool.

    The Stupid Fascist Billionaires - like the Bush, Obama and Cheney Dynasties, think that controlling the world's ONLY remaining religion, will give them total control over society.

    They're wrong of course.

    As Microsloth(tm) discovered, its always best to keep at least one controlled "competitor" in place, to give the peasants something to fight over.

    Sporty Team Spirit is way better than sleight-of-hand (politics) to keep the marks from grokking the scam.

    The smart Billionaires, however, are putting their cash and efforts into controlling water and food globally, because that's the real way to own the world, and get yachts, cocaine and bimbos forever, for free.

    ---

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  118. identicon
    GEMont, 4 Sep 2015 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re: Looking for that perfect job.

    Ye canna be wiping out all the "sub-human" races, cuz they be needed to till the soil, run the factory machines, entertain the Owners and dig those ditches, until the first of the fully functional "subservient robotics" rolls off the peasant-run conveyor belt.

    Fascism loves slavery, or anything else that gives it free labor and higher profits.

    The smart Fascists - not really a pre-requisite - realize that they need most of the peasants to buy the shit the other peasants are creating in the factories owned by the fascists and that means keeping the breeders alive and fed and actually paying them a wage so they can stay "consumers" in a "consumer" society, operated as a business by the Ownership Society.

    Silly plan indeed, but if you look into history, you'll notice that all the Fascist Conquest Plans that succeeded or failed, were just as pointless and silly. Look at Mussolini for instance, or that un-namable German dude with the micro-"stash".

    ---

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  119. identicon
    GEMont, 4 Sep 2015 @ 4:37pm

    Re: We fly together. We fall together.

    "or maybe it was more like Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

    Funny you should mention this.

    Did you know that the desert area; where Sodom and Gomorrah once stood, is riddled with chunks of green glass - from heat-fused sand - just like the stuff found after the Nevada nuclear test blasts?

    Strange that, no? :)

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  120. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 4:57pm

    Perhaps you believe in miracles after all.

    Uriel-238: I would expect that confessions-of-interest wouldn't [be] acted upon by the one who heard it but rather escalated upwards through the church and then managed through auxillary parties.

    Richard: I challenge you to quote any historical case where this happened.

    Can i first challenge you to find an incident in history in which data scooped up bt the NSA was used to identify and accuse a citizen of the US for a crime?

    If not, it must not have happened?

    You, yourself admitted that history is scant during the dark ages.

    I'm supposing it happened because the means and motives were there. You're supposing otherwise based on the integrity of every man of the cloth, and an institution known for using surreptitious means to protect its own interests.

    How could it not have happened?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 5:10pm

    Sodom and Gomorrah

    Except, like Troy, we aren't actually sure where Sodom and Gomorrah actually stood. (We have some guesses.) We don't even know their names. Sodom and Gomorrah both are, I think, Aramaic for scorched or heap of ruins or somesuch.

    Fortunately, it doesnt take nuclear fire to make glass, though now I'm curious if the background radiation at these glassy sites is higher than would be expected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 8:39pm

    I tried.

    Anonymous Coward, at first I was going to try to send you a point-by-point rebutal, but I couldn't get past that you were responding to my reply to Richard as if it was you, and seemed to miss some of the things I said, and accused me of saying things I didn't say.

    So let me sum up:

    You seem to accept that us vs. them ideologies are bunk, but you don't seem to believe that it applies to you and it applies to Muslims. Maybe I'm reading you wrong, but from this screen over here it seems you have an issue there.

    If you're going to take the love your neighbor as you do yourself thing to heart, you have to accept that it applies to even to those of us that you most despise, regardless of what they did to your mom. That includes not just Muslims, but hostile Muslims that one might regard as terrorists. The very worst and most violent of Muslims. We have to invite them to the party too.

    If you can't do it, no worries. Neither can they. Neither can I. Neither can anyone really. It takes a lot of practice. But I'm pretty sure that's the bar that Jesus set, and I'm pretty sure that's the bar that we as a society have to set to advance the society forward.

    Everything else is details.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123. icon
    Richard (profile), 5 Sep 2015 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Perhaps you believe in miracles after all.

    In short you have no evidence.

    Can i first challenge you to find an incident in history in which data scooped up bt the NSA was used to identify and accuse a citizen of the US for a crime?

    But there is plenty of evidence that the information is collected. You don't even have that.


    I'm supposing it happened because the means and motives were there. You're supposing otherwise based on the integrity of every man of the cloth, and an institution known for using surreptitious means to protect its own interests.
    How could it not have happened?


    But if it happened enough to be a significant factor in the lives of ordinary people how come you can't find even ONE incident where it came out?

    There are recorded incidents where civil authorities tried to force priests to break confidentiality but the priest refused and was imprisoned/tortured/killed as a result.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124. icon
    Richard (profile), 5 Sep 2015 @ 3:51pm

    Re: I tried.

    If you're going to take the love your neighbor as you do yourself thing to heart, you have to accept that it applies to even to those of us that you most despise, regardless of what they did to your mom. That includes not just Muslims, but hostile Muslims that one might regard as terrorists. The very worst and most violent of Muslims. We have to invite them to the party too.

    Yep - that's what Canon White "the vicar of Bagdad" said "we have to talk to some very bad people - and we have to be nice to them" That's what "love your enemies" means.

    But that doesn't mean that we have to go along with their ideology.

    Here is an INdonesian, former muslim now Christian (Orthodox) priest:

    "Recently, I was invited to a radical Muslim madrasa—an Islamic boarding school. It has 6,000 students. They are planning to make an Islamic country out of Indonesia. I was surprised that I was invited to explain the Trinity in that place. Of course with them I had to use the primary sources—the Hebrew, the Greek, and the Arabic. By God’s grace I know those three languages. I also used the pattern of Islamic theological thought to explain to them. I was perhaps the first Christian clergyman to talk in that situation. When we went there, forty-five Protestant pastors escorted me, because they wanted to know what would happen. We went by bus, together. They wanted to protect me also—that is the fruit of my friendship with them. So to my surprise, after I finished my lecture, these Muslim clerics—one or two hundred of them, maybe more—gave me a long, standing ovation. They came to shake my hand, to embrace me, thanking me for explaining the Trinity in a way they understood. And they told the people that we have a guest of another religion, but it should not be another religion because they believe in one God! So that is an example of how I communicate with the Muslims. I do not take a confrontational approach, but one of friendship and dialogue. "

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125. icon
    tqk (profile), 5 Sep 2015 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Perhaps you believe in miracles after all.

    Can i first challenge you to find an incident in history in which data scooped up bt the NSA was used to identify and accuse a citizen of the US for a crime?

    Who are you, and what have you done with the real Uriel-238?!?

    Do the words "parallel reconstruction" ring any bells? The NSA has been feeding the results of its illegal slurping to any and every other TLA (including other countries' TLAs) it can for more than a decade, telling them, "Psst! Don't tell 'em we told you. This message will self-destruct ..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  126. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 5 Sep 2015 @ 5:18pm

    Parallel Reconstruction.

    You know it and I know it, but my Christian apologist friends Richard and Anonymous Coward believe that it's possible that the Church, who got to listen to everyone's confessions at threat of hellfire were feasibly able to resist not using that source of intelligence and surveillance in the course of furthering their own ends, by passing on confessional data through the church to be processed.

    They believe that because they're no specific historical incident (in a time that is actually called the Dark Ages due to a dearth of historians who prided accuracy)

    Because the clergy were beyond reproach, obviously.

    And I my point (which was lost, if you didn't get it either) is that by the same logic (there's no historical records) the NSA isn't providing the DoJ with crime-related data, because there's no record of that either. Make sense?

    Similarly, following the same logic, Richard and Anonymous Coward believe stingray data doesn't exist either, because if there are no records of it, it never happened. Do I have it right, guys?

    Or maybe they believe that because the cloth are all good Christian men, their moral integrity is above reproach.

    If my logic is flawed, please do me the kindness of explaining to me exactly where. Fair enough? Gentlemen?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  127. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 5 Sep 2015 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Parallel Reconstruction.

    As I'm not in an ideal state right now, I'm not thinking entirely clearly, and dropping complete thoughts out of my ears.

    They believe that because they're no specific historically recorded incidents (in a time that is actually called the Dark Ages due to a dearth of historians who prided accuracy)...

    ... that it must never have happened, and that a system to exploit priest–penitent privilege for intelligence purposes cannot exist.

    As Richard said above...

    But there is plenty of evidence that the information is collected. You don't even have that.

    So he's claiming that confession doesn't happen. Or maybe he's claiming that a priest is capable of instantly forgetting the details before leaving the booth.

    To this day, the Catholic church offers no transparency and no oversight regarding their confessional system and if there's history of how it was protected during the middle ages, that knowledge is not open to the laity. And recent affairs regarding the church have demonstrated that it will readily obfuscate or keep things quiet in order to spare the reputation of the church, which is to say no official history can even be trusted.

    Richard: There are recorded incidents where civil authorities tried to force priests to break confidentiality but the priest refused and was imprisoned/tortured/killed as a result.

    Which says nothing of intel processed within the church.

    Usually theists are the first to point out that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.

    Anyway, tqk if you didn't get my point then it's likely I'm just not explaining it well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  128. icon
    tqk (profile), 5 Sep 2015 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Parallel Reconstruction.

    I admire your patience, persistence, and mostly tolerance. I'm rabidly anti-religious and lost all interest in debating angels-on-heads-of-pins crap long ago. I'm one of those wondering why we're not *all* over this BS centuries ago. There are no sky fairies, there's no Santa Clause, no Easter Bunny, Zombies and vampires, ...

    Meanwhile, Scalia (!!!) is attempting to educate Kentucky about church vs. state in the 21st century. HS!

    Aaaaauuuughgh!

    Have fun. :-P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  129. icon
    Richard (profile), 6 Sep 2015 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Parallel Reconstruction.

    They believe that because they're no specific historical incident (in a time that is actually called the Dark Ages due to a dearth of historians who prided accuracy)

    A time that is inaccurately caricatured as dark.

    From Wikipedia:
    "Historians who use the term usually flag it as incorrect. A recently published history of German literature describes "the dark ages" as "a popular if ignorant manner of speaking" about "the mediaeval period","

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  130. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Sep 2015 @ 4:52pm

    "They weren't really THAT dark"

    Uriel-238...a time that is actually called the Dark Ages due to a dearth of historians who prided accuracy

    Richard: A time that is inaccurately caricatured as dark...[wikipedia quote]

    I think the darkness that is regarded as innacurate refers to either the notion that academics and knowledge during the Classical age were set back after the fall of the Roman Empire, and that people during the early Middle ages were especially mean to each other.

    I was referring to this:

    The period is characterized by a relative scarcity of historical and other written records at least for some areas of Europe, rendering it obscure to historians. The term "Dark Age" derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum, originally applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries

    Now I suspect you're just being contradictory just for the sake of being contradictory.

    So long as apologists like you keep trying to defend Christianity, rather than owning its own history and misdeeds, the rest of us are going to have cause to suspect its proclivities towards self-preservational mischief continue unabated.

    How can we, in this age of systemic institutional deception not suspect the churches of doing worse than we already imagine, considering the degree to which they preserve their opacity?

    Because folks like you insist that they're really run by really nice guys?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  131. identicon
    GEMont, 7 Sep 2015 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Sodom and Gomorrah

    I believe its the Sanai Peninsula - the area where they think the 2 cities once stood - but I'd have to find the docs that I read a couple decades ago to be sure.

    Nothing was mentioned about rad levels though as far as I can remember. Then again, after a time, those levels would decrease. Sorta depends on how long ago whatever caused it, occurred, I'd guess.

    There is however, a seriously large amount of the stuff scattered in vari-sized fragments all over the area, and there was no historical mention of any sort of glassworks in the area at all.

    One of those reports that sticks to yer brain though.

    Damn. Microsloth is doing another Win10 download of my hard drive again - key strokes are taking like half a second to appear after I hit the key - its two point five terrabytes of Poser pictures and game mods on a 5 tb Seagate. Idiots. :)

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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