Thursday, October 23, 2014

In The Reza-Aslan-Vs-The-New-Atheists Flapadoodle, I'm Rooting For Neither Side

What a bunch of idiots. On either side people are twistng their opponents' words and trying hard not to understand one thing about what their opponents actually mean. (Not that there's a tremendous amount, on either side, to be understood.) This isn't a debate, it's the forensic equivalent of pro wrestling, except that the wrestlers aren't even in on the scam.

So, they're fighting about the Koran and its relationship to terrorism. On the one hand Aslan says that there is no relationship when we're talking about people who scream verses from the Koran as they commit acts of terrorism. On the other hand there are over a billion Muslims, and perhaps as many as 30,000 men in ISIS, and the New Atheists constantly talk as if those 30,000 were representative of the whole billion, interrupted by frequent protestations that they're doing nothing of the sort. Lately it's become fashionable to accuse any and all of their opponents of being "dishonest" and "cowardly." I think the real cowards are keeping their heads down and hoping that the New Atheists will simply go away, as most people do most of the time when confronted with raving lunatics.

An anonymous post on Richard Dawkins' website asserts that:

"Aslan insists that approaching these holy books the way most people approach most books — by reading the words on their pages precisely as they are written and assuming that the author actually meant what he wanted to say — is somehow 'unsophisticated.'”

The irony of this accusation coming in the midst of a diatribe accusing Aslan and Ben Affleck of making bigoted, racist statements about Muslims, simply because they said that the Koran was not the only source of Muslims' motivations for their actions, must be striking for almost anyone but a New Atheist. (Affleck is the only individual mentioned in this post I don't consider to be an idiot. I think he's very smart. So's Maher, but he has some dumb friends. Okay, so that's a total of 2 smart people, Affleck and Maher.)

"As my friend Christopher Massie points out: 'The conclusion that disproportionate numbers of intrinsically violent and misogynistic people reside in a certain region of the world could not be more bigoted or racist.'”

It also couldn't be further from anything that either Aslan or Affleck ever said, but you're off to the races already.

"Here’s the thing: there is good reason to believe that neither Aslan nor Affleck is racist or bigoted."

Well, of course. And it'd be a shame, wouldn't it, anonymous blogger, if people thought you had accused either Aslan or Affleck of bigotry or racism simply because you said that things they said were racist and bigoted.

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