[ExI] The mosque at Ground Zero

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Mon Aug 9 12:50:48 UTC 2010

On Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 5:00 AM,  John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> On Aug 7, 2010, at 2:06 PM, Keith Henson wrote:
>> Flaming about the particular aspects of any religion at a given time
>> is the wrong target.
> And flaming those who point out the illogic inherent in a religion is the right target?

It's not *useful* to point out that religions are illogical.  Their
very existence is due to psychological mechanisms that (in appropriate
circumstances) induce irrational behavior because (in the stone age)
such behavior, irrational and harmful to the host as it is, helps
genes to propagate.  I have derived numbers of how much genes for
irrational behavior in some circumstances have an advantage over
alternate genes.

> Are you trying to tell me with a straight face that the main problem is that the west is too critical of Islam and we haven't dreamed up enough excuses for it?

Hardly.  But the history of war is replete with people doing things
that were irrational.  As others have pointed out today, most of the
damage in the US from 9/11 was self induced.  The *passengers* solved
the problem that day, and there is no strong evidence that any of the
official programs have accomplished anything useful.

Look, it isn't the stone age any more.  Working ourselves up into a
frenzy and taking irrational actions (that hurt us more than them)
isn't nearly as effective as working out rational approaches to
dealing with the problems.

Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:

>So yeah John, I agree with you.  I like to play the role of whatever
the atheist equivalent of devil's advocate may be but at the end of
the discussion, a threat is still a threat no matter how much you
appreciate the motivation of the invader.  And yes, that's xenophobic
Us v. Them language.  That also doesn't change simply because we have
taken time to reflect on it.

The more important part may be to understand how our own rationality
is screwed up by being attacked.


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