Killing Hitler

So here is Conor Friedersdorf’s taxonomy of violent protest movements.  He starts with his usual profound misunderstanding of islamic movements like ISIS– ISIS is not a protest movement– they don’t have street marches and protests– it is a violent armed insurgency that deliberately uses terror as a long-game strategy in asymmetrical warfighting.  It has nothing to do with Black Lives Matter, Anti-fa, white supremacists, confederate revanchists or neo-Nazis.

ISIS has nothing to do with Naziism either.  Do you know, Conor, what movement is affiliated with Naziism?  The neo-Nazis that marched in the “Unite the Right” parade in Charlottesville.

So I ax Conor on his TL if he would go back in time and kill Hitler, given the opportunity.  No response of course.  It seems to me that if one is willing to go back in time to kill Hitler that is use of violence to achieve a goal.  Because thats what Anti-fa is trying to do.  Kill a Hitler before one emerges by exposing/destroying the potential base of support for fascism.  (ed. note:In these arguments I never want to go back in time to kill Hitler.  I think Hitler was an emergent effect of the spacetime composition of the German citizenry, there were likely many proto-Hitlers in the population, just like there was emergent fascism.  Problematic to eliminate them all.  No, if I get magical time travel powers someday (magical because time-travel to the past is improbable because of closedform timecurves) I would save Alan Turing and bring him to the future.  Because of biology there are infinitely many proto-Hitlers out there but only one Alan Turing.)

That aside Anti-fa is just what their name suggests– against fascists.   Dr. Wang at PEC has a fascism checklist based on this source I think.  Trump has checked quite a few boxes so far.  So if you were trying to prevent fascist ideology from colonizing a permeable sub-population– like low-information red tribe voters and confederate revanchists/white supremacists in the US– what would you be willing to do?  Would you use violence?  Because, violence works.  Just ask Hannah Arendt or Kwame Ture (Howard university philosophy major).

In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent has to have a conscience.

If your opponent is viewed as not human, disposable, and in this hyper-polarized climate this is endemic, violence happens.  The consistent thing about Anti-fa is they are responding to violence, responding to invasion of their space.  The tiki torch parade happened before any Anti-fa showed up, and the polo shirt sporting incels intimidated a small group of female uni students protesting fascism.  That the violence was implied doesnt make it any less real.  The Unite the Right meme is “taking back” their country/cities/turf.  The unis and cities dont want them there.  Neither does anti-fa.

So is defensive violence ok or not?  It seems like Anti-fa is defending their communities against disruptive invasions.  “Unite the Right” discussed using violence in the chat-logs used to plan the march, planned for violence.

If there is ONE THING the divided country should be able to agree on, its that Naziism is BAD.  Fascism is BAD.

Personally i think the GOP needs to grow a spine, and Friedersdorf needs to grow a spine AND a conscience and cut out the bothsidesdoitism and whataboutism that seems so consistant in his opinions.

Conor, try to remember only one side is sporting paired Confederate and Nazi flags.



There Is No Counternarrative

The US profoundly sucks at counterinsurgency (aka “counterterrorism”)…as evidenced by the epic fail of the Viet Nam war, OIF and OEF.  US is so very, very bad at counterinsurgency that it has now resorted to directly outsourcing the counterinsurgent effort to the local most badass tyrant/dictator/strongman/monarch in a profound contradiction of its oft-stated policy of promoting liberty, freedom, and justice for all (pluralist democracy lol), ie propping the local baddie (eg, Assad in Syria, Sisi in Egypt).  But I digress– I’m really here to talk counternarratives.  It would seem like outreach would be a great idea, non? But the US program on CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) has been terminated by the Trump administrationTant pis, because that program could have been directed to outreach to radicalized youth in the alt-right and anti-fa movements non?

Lately there’s a whole rash of articles about “reaching out”, and part of the imperative is the “reaching out to radicalized youth ” where anti-fa is force-equivalenced with white nationalists, incels, channers, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.  I feel like a talking parrot at this point, but both sides are not the same.   Anti-fa are protesting against fascists coming to their town or university— what counternarrative are they offered?  Allow it?

Socio-physics equivalency between ISIS and the Alt-right is being drawn with a heavy-hand as well.  This analysis ignores the widely disparate proximate causes of emergence of ISIS and the Alt-right: ISIS is primarily motivated by brutal western aggression in islamic lands while the Alt-right is basically an internal grievance movement– confederate revanchists, neo-Nazis, incels, channers, white nationalists, HBD proponents, evangelicals, rationalists etc .

First– Dr. Atran– Don’t just Denounce Radicalized Youth. Engage with Them.  Unlike America, his research into youth radicalization hasnt been defunded by the Trump admin.  But he’s still wrong.  Atran is on the record as stating there is no counternarrative to ISIS.  The only counternarrative that would work for ISIS is self-representative government for the islamic world. Why would there be a counternarrative for the Alt-Right?  The Alt-Right wants to capture US culture and redirect it.  Main stream American culture has been rejecting their ideology for decades.  Atran is backed by the US pundit class– We’ll Beat the Fascists with Ideas not Fists, etc.  But how do you engage with sexually frustrated incels and Beta-males?  These guys have already lost the culture war– girls won’t date them.  And adding neo-Nazis, AR-15s  and Confederate flags to the mix will just reduce their dating chances, not improve them.

What counternarrative will get these guys dates?

So, Dr. Atran– what counternarrative can you offer the Alt-right?

No one (except Nagle) will talk about this, but there is a deep and broad current of profound misogyny in the Alt-right.  I think 10 years ago James Damore would have just brought a semi-automatic to work and capped a few of his female  co-workers instead of posting a screed to an internal online group discussing women in tech.  This is probably a good thing, but we need to admit the underlying cause of their disaffection– the Right has been disenfranchised from culture.

I just do not think its possible to construct a counternarrative for the alt-right, any more than it was possible to succeed at CVE for islamic youth.  Dr. Atran is delusional.  Culture has moved on.  The VMAs were like an anti-Trump rally Sunday night.  Pink wore a “Fuck Trump” jacket.  Eminem lead an anti-Trump chant.  Paris Jackson delivered a diatribe on Charlottesville.

“Leave here tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville, and all over the country, that as a nation — with ‘liberty’ as our slogan — we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred, and their discrimination,” she urged the crowd. “We must resist.”

Something I learned in Evo Theory of Culture 101– a tribe without reps can’t long survive.  Culture evolves, and moves on.  Arts and Academe are the leading edge of the wave.

The reason Cthulu swims left is entropy — what confederate fan-boiz, neo-Nazis, the Alt-right, the Alt-Light, evangelicals, channers, Proud Boys, Identity Europa, incels, “rationalists”, Donald Trump and the GOP all have in common is a fervent desire for an entropy reset– to return to a past cooler and more ordered state.

Which like futile fantasies of counternarratives simply can’t be done.

UPDATE:  Milo Yiannopoulis is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.




Trump: the Cronenburg President

Scene from the Phoenix rally in Trump’s America.

I think Donald Trump is a Cronenburg.

Definition: (noun) A twisted mockery of a human being. Distorted beyond all recognition but still retaining enough human qualities to suggest a human origin. Often a result of a horrible virus or malevolent alien entity attempting to create a human race in it’s own sick image.

A deformed pinkish-orange monster.

I flat love Rick and Morty. And my favorite ep of all time is Rick Potion #9, where Rick creates a Morty love potion that turns the world (except for genetic kin of Morty) into first– mantis-people, and then the antidote turns them into Cronenburgs.  You can see the whole ep here.

I just think Trump is so physically repulsive by normative American standards, he MUST be some sort of mutation.  But his true Cronenburg manifestation is his raging mutation of American values.  Racism, tacit support for Nazis, white supremacists and KKK, attacks on the freedom of the press…incredible.

I have always loved cartoons.  I think they are the cultural DNA of America.  Political/cultural commentary and current events are threaded through South Park, Courage, Invader Zim, Squidbillies, Bob’s Burgers, Simpsons, Aqua Teens– but the ultimate best is Rick and Morty.  And now I’m horrified to see my country turning (perhaps as much as) half Cronenburg, lead by the biggest fattest most repulsive Cronenburg of all.

Trump is spreading the virus of hatred and it turns Americans ugly.  We need to get rid of our Cronenburg president before its too late.



So my disastrous (and short-lived) tenure at SSC wasn’t ALL their fault– I charged in there brimming with enthusiasm for my attempt to replicate Arlie Hoschild’s experiment in empathy.  I really should have studied the rationalist community first, I had terrible sampling error and bias.

But my biggest fail is that I wasn’t honest with them.  Consider this exchange.

At this point I was trying to reform my comment style to conform to community standards, so I tried to steelman the argument that O’Keefe was not a trusted source or a journo, but a propagandist.  What I really should have said is, “yes, James O’Keefe IS icky”.  And Donald Trump is icky, Ann Coulter is icky, Charles Murray is icky, Richard Spencer is icky, Heather MacDonald is icky, Milo Yianoppoulis is icky, Kid Rock is icky and Steve Sailor is icky.  These guys are all icky.

What I mean by icky is I have a visceral reaction of revulsion, based on the combined e-history and visuals of these individuals.  I think there has to be a biological component to cause such a strong emotional reaction.   I wonder, do the right rationalists have a comparable visceral reaction to feminists, LGBT, antifa, Obama, Katy Perry, Hillary Clinton, SJWs?  Why are Red Tribe standard bearers so physically unattactive (old, creepy, gross, slimy)?  Does their lack of physical appeal sort incels and channers into the Red Tribe?  Why are all the valorized standard-bearers of the Red Tribe so physically and ideologically unappealing?

I learned a lot at SSC, and I understand myself a lot better.  I get that rationalism, BURGT (Bayesian Utility Rationalist Game Theory) and pure utility theory allow the construction of defenses of any possible human ideology/actions.  But I now think that rationalism is useless without moral theory.  I think philosophy is useless without the public sphere (Arendt).  The perfect exemplar of this would be Donald Trump’s behavior over Charlottesville.  It is rational, given the make-up of his base, but it is amoral, given the make-up of the country.

Nazis are icky.  White supremacists are icky.  And given the amount of SSC comments mirroring Trump’s “both sides do it equally–antifa is even worse” eumeme, there is a lot of support in the rationalist community for Trump’s position.  So this is what Scott Alexander has built– a coven for rational witches.  I heard a lot of argument about the Blue Tribe having equal representation at SSC, but its not equal in volume– liberal tendency commenters pretty much get shouted down– this is what we should expect given conservative tendency traits.

This is a really perceptive article, The Eternal Struggle.  It is one of the two things I read that made me excited about commenting at SSC, the other being UNSONG.  In Struggle Alexander speaks to the cultural evolution that has stranded the Red Tribe outside of traditional institutions and normative standards, and the formation of alternative media bubbles and the burgeoning Red Tribe hatred of academic communities.

Scott Alexander:

“Look. I read Twitter. I know the sorts of complaints people have about this blog. I’m some kind of crypto-conservative, I’m a traitor to liberalism, I’m too quick to sell out under the guise of “compromise”. And I understand the sentiment. I write a lot about how we shouldn’t get our enemies fired lest they try to fire us, how we shouldn’t get our enemies’ campus speakers disinvited lest they try to disinvite ours, how we shouldn’t use deceit and hyperbole to push our policies lest our enemies try to push theirs the same way. And people very reasonably ask – hey, I notice my side kind of controls all of this stuff, the situation is actually asymmetrical, they have no way of retaliating, maybe we should just grind our enemies beneath our boots this one time.”

But what Scott Alexander has done with SSC is just to form another coven.  Its pandering, and I hate pandering. Its disrespectful.  The answer to the disequilibriation of the conservative/liberal Cooperation/Competition Paradigm isn’t to pretend it isnt happening– it is to acknowledge WHY and seek solutions.   Liberals aren’t grinding conservatives beneath our boots– cultural evolution and technological progress are.  When one tribe is gaining reps (replications) and the other isn’t the eventual outcome is pretty certain.

I get the intent of SSC– a place for rational discussion between the two tribes.  But the tribes are no longer persuadable.  SSC has just devolved into rationalizing non-competitive Red Tribe ideology and giving cover to Trump.  The two tribes are diverging– and one side, the demographically and culturally endangered tribe, is moving farther and faster right.  Is the Blue Tribe supposed to move right now?  Because I doubt that will happen.

I tried to talk about asymmetrical polarization at SSC and was pretty much mocked.  I tried to talk about social physics and complexity science and was unsuccessful.  I think Cthulu swims left because of the Second Law.  But SSC commenters would rather not engage with those ideas.  Not sure that plugging your ears with rationalism is an adaptive evolutionary strategy, but watevs.

I wonder if Scott Alexander will say anything about Trump now… not holding my breath.





The Banality of the Rationalists : Charlottesville

My first thought on seeing the images from Charlottesville was, hey, I know these guys!

Looks like a random sample of the SSC commentariat.

So my experiment was a fail.  I had wanted to scale the empathy wall between liberals and conservatives after reading Hoschild’s book.  I was so wrong.  As it turned out I lasted less than 2 months at Slate Star Codex.  First, almost no one would admit to being a conservative.  They all claimed membership in the “grey Tribe”, which is really just plausible deniability for Red Tribe, because they still vote with Red Tribe.  Second, when I looked at the composition of the commentariat– SSC was ~90% male, ~75% ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and ~90% white.  But they were ALL “rationalists”.  Apparently at SSC, the “politics of reason” rule the comments.  Now what rationalism allows for is a safe space to nuture outrè Red Tribe ideology, like “punching SJWs” and burning university campuses to the ground.  I accidentally wound up surveying the upper tier of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” marchers, the polo-shirt tiki-torch brigade.

I should have read Nagle’s book alongside Hoschild’s as it turns out.

I got banned.  To be clear, I’m not really sure why I was banned.  It could have been any number of things.  It just may be that the commentariat was designed to be self-regulating and I was reported too many times.  I was trying to conform to the commentariat rules at the time, but I simply couldn’t handle the utilitarian good of killing-terrorists-families and the utilitarian good of keeping-Assad-in-power, or the utilitarian good of a Trump Presidency.  At that point I became a fierce empiricist and was pushed farther left than when I started.  I had empiricist tendency prior to commenting– I believe liberals and conservatives have biological differences (an evolutionary advantage in the EEA, but not in 21st century America).  Most philosophers self-identify as empiricists as well.  I’m more Arendt than Augustine.  So like Arendt, I will defend the importance of the public sphere.

I understand that utility theory and rationalism are neutral, and thus can be used to defend racism, naziism, white nationalism, Trump, Assad, Hitler etc.  But the disturbing thing about SSC is the ability to cast out empirical evidence and privilege rationalist philosophy over real world events.  Its giving me a dim view of rationalism-as-practiced.  I understand that BURGT (Bayesian Utility Rational Game Theory) is neutral in theory, but in practice it seems to be highly permeable to Red Tribe ideologies that are unfit in 21st century environment, and certainly extremely unpalatable to someone with Blue Tribe genetic tendency like me.

One of the things I love about Twitter is the opportunity to witness whimsical exchanges like the one between Corey Robin and Chelsea Clinton on Arendt’s banality of evil.  It really had everything, a fake Chelsea Clinton account, a real Chelsea Clinton, 140 char twitter philosophy, a sword fight, intellectual one-up-man-ship.  And it did make me think about the banality of evil…What SSC does is foster the nuturing of dank memes, frankly evil ideology, antisocial and inhumane pathologies  in the name of free speech and “reason”– it normalizes terrible things.  Is it possible to separate politics from the public sphere?  Was I banned for contesting rationalist dogma?  Where is my free speech?

I am not going to claim that SSC commenters are Nazi-fluffers, but the rationalist community certainly seems to enable the use of utility theory to justify things like “punching SJWs”, free speech laws on campus, white identity politics, anti-no-platforming rules and free form justification of Trump’s incredible gaffe and error-filled presidency.

This is very simplistic but sometimes toy models can be useful– it just seems like if there is one thing both tribes should be able to agree upon, it is that Nazis are bad.  What is the utility good of carrying a Nazi flag?

So I’m waiting for the Scott Alexander post on Charlottesville.  For the continuation of the banality of the Rationalists.


Scott Alexander isnt going to post on Charlottesville– he’s going to the Effective Altruism Convention.

tant pis

UP-UPDATE:  check out @YesYoureRacist and fund his patreon

A Constructed Complex Adaptive Invasive Strategy for Cultural Transmission

Here is a really salient article from Nadim Shehadi on the current KSA v Qatar confrontation, where he breaks down the nuances of the conflict.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia, between whom the conflict is most bitter, are also the closest: they share the same Wahhabi beliefs, and Qatar’s ruling family, the Al-Thani, claim direct descent from Imam Abdul Wahhab himself.

While Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, together with Egypt, are leading the charge against Qatar this time, they also have their own differences. A conference in Chechnya last year, in which the UAE played a prominent part, brought together about 100 Islamic scholars including ones sponsored by the Egyptian government, who declared that Salafi and Wahhabi doctrines are not part of mainstream Sunni Islam, effectively excluding both Saudi Arabia and Qatar from the definition. This is equivalent to delegitimizing the Al-Saud’s claim to their rule, much worse than any sin that Qatar has committed.

Their disagreements are serious. At the root of the dispute is a policy debate on how to deal with issues such as the various forms of radical Islam. Their similarity lies in that they all firmly believe that they are the main target of Islamist radicalism whether Sunni or Shia. Where they differ is in how to deal with the phenomenon, with approaches ranging from appeasement to co-option and suppression. They have different policies wherever the Muslim Brotherhood is involved, so they support opposing sides in Egypt, Libya, Turkey, Syria and Palestine. Qatar acts much like marginal states in Europe, such as Norway or Switzerland, maintaining relations with all sides while trying to play a mediating role.

The problem with salafi and wahhabi doctrines is that they provide a nourishing intellectual, cultural and emotional substrate for jihadism, and also that they are an integral part of Islam.  Jihad is in the DNA of the Quran…and oppression of the ummah acts like a trigger for the expression of salafi-jihadism.  And its impossible to get rid of jihad without rewriting the Quran.  Currently the GCC countries are pointing the finger at each other over the spread of islamic terrorism– who is the biggest terrorist enabler.  I think it depends if spreading wahhabism is equivalent to spreading salafi-jihad (aka islamic terrorism)?  Since it is the basic substrate.

The biggest challenge the Gulf states face is not invasion by Iran, it is their population’s growing sympathy with radicalism and this is linked to Iran’s actions in the region. Images of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp together with Hezbollah and other Iranian-sponsored militias ethnically cleansing areas of Sunnis in Iraq or participating in starvation sieges in Syria expose the failure of the rich Gulf states. This in turn serves to delegitimize Saudi claims to leadership of the Sunni Muslim world that radical movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State group are challenging.

I think Shehadi’s analysis is very cogent in the restricted neighborhood of the ME, where there is a Shia/Sunni conflict, but its interesting to observe what is happening in the broader theater of dar ul Islam.

In the broader theater, Sunnis are massively dominant in places like Indonesia and Africa, where the Shia/IRG is not a neighborhood threat.  There are for example, 80 million sunni muslims in Nigeria, and there are 202.9 million sunni muslims in Indonesia.


I thought these comments from Dr. Davidson were very interesting.

He is citing data from this article about Jakarta’s recent election.

JUST A FEW months ago, the governor of Indonesia’s largest city, Jakarta, seemed headed for easy re-election despite the fact that he is a Christian in a mostly Muslim country. Suddenly everything went violently wrong. Using the pretext of an offhand remark the governor made about the Koran, masses of enraged Muslims took to the streets to denounce him. In short order he lost the election, was arrested, charged with blasphemy, and sentenced to two years in prison.

This episode is especially alarming because Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, has long been one of its most tolerant. Indonesian Islam, like most belief systems on that vast archipelago, is syncretic, gentle, and open-minded. The stunning fall of Jakarta’s governor reflects the opposite: intolerance, sectarian hatred, and contempt for democracy. Fundamentalism is surging in Indonesia. This did not happen naturally.

This is a persistant adaptive strategy of invasive cultural transmission.

Saudi Arabia has been working for decades to pull Indonesia away from moderate Islam and toward the austere Wahhabi form that is state religion in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis’ campaign has been patient, multi-faceted, and lavishly financed. It mirrors others they have waged in Muslim countries across Asia and Africa.

“The educational network spreads itself.”  That’s very good.  Indonesia has a large “malleable muslim majority”– 202.9 million muslims.

In his book, Shadow Wars, Dr. Davidson also writes about how KSA exploits the hajj to fund terror groups.

This shows that KSA’s demonization of Qatar as a terrorist-funder is really just misdirection.  What Qatar does sponser is anti-KSA dissent.  Like Shehadi’s description of Qatar as the Switzerland of the GCC, Qatar hosts al Jazeerha, saudi dissidents, bahraini and yemeni dissidents, and the MB.  This is also an example of  how KSA’s physical possession of the ka’bah is used to exploit the hajj as a conduit to fund minority or sectarian muslim demographies to destabilize the ruling regime, (Dr. Davidson’s second strategy).

Here we have House Muslim & perpetually wrong pundit Shadi Hamid on Whats Different About Islam in Indonesia and Malaysia — not going to be that way much longer IMHO.  Actually, doesnt the Jakarta election blow up his whole thesis?  Indonesians used the blasphemy law on the books to sentence the ex-governor to 2 years in prison.

What distinguishes Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as their electorates, isn’t some readiness to embrace the gradual privatization of religion. The difference is that their brand of Islamic politics garners much less attention in the West, in part because they aren’t seen as strategically vital and, perhaps more importantly, because the passage of Islamic legislation is simply less controversial domestically. There has been a coming to terms with Islam’s role in public life, where in much of the Middle East, there hasn’t — at least not yet.

This is entirely wrong– KSA is exploiting the shariah “on the books” to transform univerisities to wahhabist institutions, to sentence the ex-governor, to pull Indonesian culture and society in the direction they want it to go.

I would love to have data to measure the spread of wahhabism through Indonesian culture– in contemporary Indonesia KSA is employing the first strategy…seeding the large malleable muslim population with wahhabism using educational and clerical networks.  This is a complex adaptive strategy using a mixed system of oblique, lateral and vertical transmission, and its condensed and amplified by the convolution of education and religion.  KSA is funding universities and mosques– two primary and co-dependent centers of social influence.  The strategy of offering scholarships and study in Mecca to the brightest students– brilliant.  An engineered meritocracy where wahhabism becomes the highest layer of the clerical class structure.

I would employ Cavalli-Sforza’s useful criteria-

Relationship of teacher and taught.

Age differences of cultural generations

Numerical relation between teacher and taught

Complexity of society, social structure and hierarchial layers

If I could get a capture I could build the transmission matrices to do generational iterations.  How cool would that be?  We are entering A Golden Age of Data, where data is going to be cheap and abundant and available to all.

Even to Shadi Hamid.

Editor’s note:  I’m told the Chechnya conference that UAE participated in was organized by Kadirov (Putin), and run by largely Sufi scholars.  Probably not very influential on the main [sunni] population of dar ul Islam, and directed explicitly at Putin’s current growing problems in Chechnya and Inghusetia.


Richard Dawkins and the Utility Good of Soul

Wait…wut?  Richard Dawkins, the famous “athorist” (intellectual atheist) believes in souls?  Then I saw the “Passionate Rationalist” part– of course he does!  As long as it helps sell books and win converts for “athorism” the “soul” has utility good.

The book isn’t out yet but it drew my attention by being mentioned in the recent Dawkins no-platforming on a Berkeley radio station, KPFA.

I view Dawkins as a defector from Science Tribe.  After all, he understands full well  the biological basis of behavior, and even co-wrote a chapter in John Maynard-Smith’s book Evolution and the Theory of Games.  JMS credits Dawkins with the invention of the term CSS, Culturally Stable Strategy, an extension of the ESS (Evolutionarily Stable Strategy) to cultures.  And humans are born with an inherited tendency to believe in the supernatural (Tomasello 2006)– athorism is the premise that somehow humans can magically overcome biology with “rationalism” and intellect.

So why has Dawkins switched from attacking Christianity to attacking Islam?  I think Dawkins has just switched from the soft target (ethnic xians–where he still can farm converts) to the hard target (where he gets no converts because Islam is a CSS).

Here is an excerpt from Dawkins letter to the KPFA radio station.

If you had consulted me, or if you had done even rudimentary fact-checking, you would have concluded that I have never used abusive speech against Islam. I have called IslamISM “vile” but surely you, of all people, understand that Islamism is not the same as Islam. I have criticised the ridiculous pseudoscientific claims made by Islamic apologists (“the sun sets in a marsh” etc), and the opposition of Islamic “ scholars” to evolution and other scientific truths. I have criticised the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticised the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief. Far from attacking Muslims, I understand – as perhaps you do not – that Muslims themselves are the prime victims of the oppressive cruelties of Islamism, especially Muslim women.

?? What is islamism other than belief in Islam, theory and practice?  This is a riddickulous argument.  Dawkins IS attacking Islam.  All the practices Dawkins bemoans are set out in the theory of the Quran and transformed into islamic law via tafsir and isnad.  No, Dawkins is attacking Islam just as surely as Hirsi Ali is attacking Islam.  Dawkins and Ali are isomorphic– scaremongering.

However, while there is likely some whack rationalist argument why Islamism != Islam, the empirical fact is Islamism = belief in Islam.  Therefore deductively attacking Islamism = attacking Islam.

I’m sure my ex-commentariat at SSC can throw up an induction word salad to prove this only might be true, but watever.   I think social physics is going to be the stake in the heart of the rationalists, passionate or not.  And I can’t wait.