Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2017.12.15
I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too
young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15
years from now, she will come to me and say 'Daddy, where were you when they
took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'

		Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

2006.09.29

Dean Esmay Builds A Strawman

Most of his post is a waste of otherwise fine electrons. This is so because his opening premise is so ineptly crafted it would be laughable if it were part of a Three Stooges script. Lets start with what he wrote:

Recently, I noticed that some of Iran’s unelected and illegitimate leaders have said that Islam is incompatible with democracy.

This very statement–that Islam is incompatible with democracy–is why I fight so hard with many of my friends on the Right: accepting that statement means we have to declare war on the entire Muslim world if we’re to hope for human freedom to survive.

Um. No. “Incompatible with democracy” does not equal “have to declare war on the entire Muslim world.” That is, not to non-Muslim people. I would say there is mounting evidence (read “dead bodies”) to suggest the math works this way among radical Muslims, “incompatible with democracy” does equal “have to declare war on the entire non-Muslim world.”

Mr. Esmay continues:

To me it would be akin to, in World War II, declaring ourselves at war with “Germanic People,” “Latin People,” and “Southeast Asians.” Not Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy and Tojo’s Japan. No, we would have declared that we were at war with anyone of Germanic or Latin descent, and anyone who happened to be short, yellow, and slant-eyed (to put it rudely and crassly).

Ack. Here he attempts to directly equate religious beliefs with genetics. He builds a false bridge between what some people believe in their heads, “democracy” and “Islamism”, and what is expressed by everybody’s DNA. His use of the word “akin” is telling and the premise is tissue paper thin. Throughout my life, I can choose to believe in any number of epistemological systems, religious or otherwise. (Whether or not a person understands they have this choice is another matter.) Yet I could no more choose to be an Asian than I could choose to be honey bee. Isn’t going to happen.

Mr. Esmay’s propensity to generalize will forever blind him to the actual threat from radical Muslims toward all non-Muslims regardless their race. He is much more comfortable arguing about all Islam and all Muslims and all races. In World War II, we did go to war against Germans, not because they were German but because it happened to be the Germans who were holding to Nazi principals of government. Did Mr. Esmay not notice that distinction? And yes, Nazism was incompatible with democracy, too.

Not only is Mr. Esmay’s anorexic research in full view, but his math is bad. No sir. Two plus two does not equal seventeen. A person’s religious beliefs do not equal a person’s genetic composition. They are different. Fundamentally different. Problems in one domain cannot be solved with solutions derived from the other. Prayer will not cure cancer and neither eugenics or genocide will obliterate the infidels. That won’t prevent the radicals with the same cognitive dissonance from trying.

[Edit History]

2006.09.29

Some deeper thinking from Eric Scheie.

2006.10.01

More genetic vs cognitive confusion here (H/T: Tim Blair):

Almost chuckling with glee, [former President Bill Clinton] told how, when DNA was analysed, it showed 99.9 per cent of what makes us human turned out to be identical. How he gloried in this confirmation of his faith in the commonality of humanity.

He became an Arkansas preacher again as he urged the crowd to concentrate not on the 0.1 per cent which was different but on what was the same.

Our DNA may define us as human, but it does not define our humanity. No measure of genetic engineering, aimed at obliterating that pesky 0.1 percent, will resolve the problems of humanity. Rest assured, where it counts, myself and this dude…

Ahmadinejad

…and those like him, have vanishingly little in common, DNA notwithstanding.