Most Americans Support Muslim Terrorists

To the claim that “Most Americans Support Muslim Terrorists”, the first impression of most Americans would probably be something similar to: “That’s absurd!” But although first impressions may be “the most lasting”, they aren’t necessarily correct.

I’d agree that most Americans don’t support Islamic TERRORISM; in fact, data support the conclusion that not even most Muslim Americans support Islamic terrorism. Thus, a 2007 Pew Research Center survey found that “only” 13% of all American Muslims approve of suicide bombings, although that percentage is higher for younger American Muslims: approximately 25% of them “support suicide bombings to defend religious beliefs”. In any case, the data show that “only” approximately 300,000 Americans support suicide bombing.

So, if “only” about 300,000 support terrorism, why do I claim that “Most Americans Support Muslim Terrorists”? Well, first, notice that I claimed that the majority supports Muslim TERRORISTS not TERRORISM.

Of course, most Americans don’t support Muslim terrorists militarily or financially, but they do support them even more significantly: they support the terrorists' ideas – morally and philosophically.

Again and again it’s been found that, although “blood is thicker than water”, ideas are thicker still – and the thickest idea of all is belief in God.

And by claiming that MOST Americans support Muslim terrorists, I mean that somewhere in the range of 80 to 90% of all Americans do: that’s the usual estimate for the percentage of Americans who state that they believe in God. (The percentage is not firm, because the results depend sensitively on how the question is asked.)

Most Americans adopted belief in God, because it’s what they “want”. That’s consistent with one meaning of the word ‘belief’: with ‘lief’ the Anglo-Saxon root word for ‘wish’, they “believe” what they “wish to be.” As Julius Caesar said, “Men willingly believe what they want.”

Further, these same Americans are proud to express their belief in God, because they were brainwashed when they were children into believing that it’s “good” – that it’s a “virtue” – to believe in God.

Thereby, most Americans support Muslim terrorists, who have been similarly brainwashed when they were children that it’s “good” – that it’s a “virtue” – to believe in God. That is, most Americans support the terrorists in that they support the “virtue” of believing in God.

Of course, these same Americans (mostly Christians) would tell the Muslim terrorists that they’re “naughty”, because their understanding of God is wrong, or their prophet is wrong, or their “holy book” is wrong, but understandably, the terrorists respond that the Christians (and Jews and Hindus and…) are wrong – not about believing in God, of course, but in not believing in the Muslim’s God, prophet, “holy book”, and so on.

Well, people, sorry to be a party pooper, but you’re both wrong. There is another meaning for ‘belief’ – and it sure would help humanity if everyone learned what it is. This other meaning for ‘belief’ has nothing to do with “wish to be”; for example, if I have a picnic planned for today and say, “I believe it’s going to rain”, it means that in spite of what I “wish to be”, I think it’s gonna rain!

Thereby, you gotta be careful with the word ‘belief’. If someone says that he believes that the Patriots will win the game, it may mean that he wants them to win the game – or it may mean that he has estimated the probability that they will win and concluded that the odds are in the Patriot’s favor.

To illustrate the confusion, I could say: “Even I sometimes believe that God exists, but I’ve never believed that God exists” – by which I’d mean: “Even I sometimes wish that God existed (because it would be a relief to think that someone could clean up the mess we’ve made of this wonderful world), yet my best estimate of the probability that any god ever existed is zilch (more specifically, somewhere around 1 part in 10 to the 500th power).”

But meanwhile, most people (Americans or Muslims) who tell the pollsters that they “believe” in God, are NOT giving their best estimates of the probability of God’s existence, but expressing their “wish” that God exists. When they were kids, would that they had been taught – not that belief in God was “right” – but the wisdom that W.K. Clifford wrote in his essay The Ethics of Faith: “It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

Consequently, by continuing in their god delusion, most Americans thereby support the Muslim terrorists’ continued “faith” in their own god delusion. As the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig, wrote: “When one person suffers from a delusion, it’s called insanity; when many people suffer from a delusion, it’s called religion.”

So, fellow Americans, to defeat the Muslim terrorists, we don’t need to send more of our brave youth to the battlefield near Baghdad, we don’t need to break the buck building new bombers and battleships; instead, what we need is a deafening battle cry, bellowed out from every bleacher in the land: “There are no gods!

Maybe even a chant, led by cheerleaders:

There are no gods, but there’s no need to grieve;
Work out the odds: it was all make believe!

And on our currency, rather than “In God We Trust”, something similar to the above would be a great slogan – but maybe something shorter. How about a contest? Some obvious entries:

God is dead
God never existed
God was a delusion
Jesus is just a myth
Allah is all gone
Allah ain’t answerin’
Allah was all la-la-land
Muhammad was mad
The god game is over
Allah didn’t show
God lost
God, nothing
Allah, zip



Huckster Huckabee Hawks His Hubris

With Romney’s religious rant (see my earlier post), I had hoped that we had reached the low point in the current round of platitudes that passes for campaigning for the position of President. Now, however, with Mike Huckabee (Baptist preacher and former Arkansas governor) climbing in the popularity polls, his pronouncements have plummeted politics to a new low in ignorance and arrogance, i.e., hubris. Of course, Huckabee puts a different spin on it. He says he’s climbing in the polls because God’s on his side: “Divine Providence helps my poll numbers.”

“But why,” one might ask, “would God be on Huckabee’s side?” Well, the answer to that question is obvious to anyone who is sufficiently brainwashed so that, like Huckabee, thinking is no longer a viable option: it’s because Huck has “faith”. And he tells us how he “found his faith” (in an invisible sugar-daddy in the sky) when he was ten years old: “I went to Vacation Bible School for all the wrong reasons – I was told they’d give me all the cookies I could eat and all the Kool-Aid I could drink. But that day I got something better than cookies and Kool-Aid. I got the Savior.”

Isn’t it heartening that the free world might be led by someone with a worldview of a ten-year old? Surely he’ll be able to successfully confront the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has the mental development and the worldview of a six-year old and claims: “There is no truth on earth but monotheism and following tenets of Islam and there is no way for salvation of mankind but rule of Islam over mankind.” You’ll show him who has the better savior, won’t you, Huck? After all, you’ll have more nuclear warheads to fire – and as everyone knows, happiness is having Rapture Time just a button away.

And it’s heartening, too, to have Huckabee spell out his goal: “I didn't get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn’t have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives.” Of course it’s great to know that Huck, like any good huckster, has all the answers – but I admit that I’d feel better if he had some idea about which answers go with which questions.

For example, “accepting Jesus Christ into our lives” isn’t the right answer to the question: How can we improve the critical-thinking skills of our children? Nor is it the right answer to questions such as: What are the best ways to stop Islamic terrorism? What mix of coal, oil shale petroleum, and nuclear energy will most rapidly, safely, and economically get us to energy independence? What’s the best way to constrain the military- industrial- congressional- bureaucratic complex? What’s the best way to ensure that American workers are competitive in a global economy? And so on. In fact, if one aligns all such questions with Huckabee’s single answer (“accepting Jesus Christ into our lives”) his answer seems to be correct only for a single question: “How can you best dupe Christians into nominating a fool for president?”

For those who feel that the word “fool” is too strong, I know of no better word (although “dumb”, “clown”, and “nut-case” are close contenders) to describe someone who says, as did Huckabee: “I think that students also should be given exposure to the theories not only of evolution but to the basis of those who believe in creationism.” Here’s a fellow who must have never taken a science course in his life – but he’ll do what he can to have children taught the science of the savages who wrote his “holy book”. After he gets creationism taught in science classes, no doubt he’ll want “equal time” for astrology to be taught in astronomy classes, alchemy in chemistry, faith healing in health science, “speaking in tongues” as a foreign language, magic numbers in mathematics, and of course, Huck’s all time favorite: “laying on of hands” in sex education.

But, says Huck-a-fool, it’s not important that he “believes” in creationism. He rhetorically asks: “Is a president going to sit in the Oval Office and really make a decision on what’s being taught… on creation or evolution?” He adds: “The answer is no.” But can this fool be trusted? How is his answer consistent with his statement: “Faith doesn't just influence me. It really defines me. I don’t have to wake up every day wondering what do I need to believe…” But the question is, Huck-old-boy: How do you reach your “beliefs”? Based on what you “wish to be” – as in wishing to live forever with your “savior” – or by estimating the probability that any claim is “true” based on the most reliable evidence? Similarly, Huck-a-nut, how do you gain your “faith”? By the scientific method, finding that all predictions of your hypotheses are validated, or by “listening to your heart”, succumbing to the “proof-by-pleasure” fallacy?

And then, Huck-a-clown, I assume to test if you can bury your foot even deeper in your mouth, you tell us that our freedoms come from your god. Really? The only freedoms that the damn clerics (such as you) claim were given to anyone by their god are the freedoms to sell one’s daughter into slavery and beat one’s slaves to death (of course in the manner specified by the Bible), the freedoms to stone to death all witches, infidels, homosexuals, and others who practice “abominations before the Lord” (such as thinking for oneself), and other such Biblical idiocies and atrocities. In reality, Huck-a-dumb, the freedoms that we’ve managed to gain weren’t given to us by any god. Saying so dishonors every woman who demanded women’s rights, every Black who sought civil rights, every police officer who protects our rights, every soldier who fought for, won, and still secures our rights, and every person who is a producer, rather than a parasite, who gives our country the economic strength so that we’ll have the ability to protect our rights.

And with respect to your hope and goal, “I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ”, then I dearly hope that you’ll soon wake up. Obviously you’ve never studied any science, but have you at least studied some history? Do you know anything about the origin of our Constitution? Have you ever heard of the concept of separation of Church and State? Is there any chance that you ever read The Treaty of Tripoli, which the Senate passed unanimously and was signed by President Adams in 1797? I’d call your attention, especially, to the part that states: “As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion…” And oh, if ever you do wake up, after you’ve had your first look at science and history, why don’t you try to learn about the concept of hubris and nemesis? Maybe you’ll understand why I predict that your hubris, your horrible combination of ignorance and arrogance, will soon plunge you back to the obscurity where you belong. I mean, surely-to-science the vast majority of Americans isn’t so stupid as you; surely it’s just a minority, living in the dream world of the Christian Reich.

Yet, that’s not to say that I disagree with everything Huckabee has said. For example, there’s his: “Politics are totally directed by worldview. That’s why when people say, ‘We ought to separate politics from religion,’ I say to separate the two is absolutely impossible.” Yet the question is: who wants a president who adopted the worldview of savages when he was ten – and is still clinging to it like a child who clings to his security blanket?

Further, Huck-old-boy, whereas you stated: “I have always said you don’t punish a child for the crime of a parent…” (with which I agree), then explain: Why do you need a savior, if it was your great-great… great grandparents (Adam and Eve) who allegedly sinned (by eating fruit from the tree of knowledge)? Or do you mean that theirs was the unforgivable sin of learning something new? You wouldn’t ever do that, would you?

And I agree with Huck’s: “America today is a deeply troubled nation. But its primary problem is not a political but a perspective problem.” Where I disagree is with his perspective: his perspective is that ‘belief’ means “wish to be” rather than an opinion about probabilities derived from evidence, and his perspective is that ‘faith’ means “blind trust” rather a decision resulting from the best possible evaluations.

For example, Huck-a-dumb “believes” in god (in spite of a total lack of evidence supporting such an opinion), because he wants to live forever, whereas I have “faith” in the scientific method, because evaluations show that it works. Thereby, I understand why Huck-a-nut quotes Proverbs 3, “Trust in the Lord, and lean not upon thine own understanding”: Huck-a-dumb doesn’t have any understanding. Consistently, Huck-a-fool affirms the Baptist Faith and Message statement: “The Holy Bible… has truth, without any mixture of error… all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.” The trouble is, Huck-a-clown doesn’t have a clue what “true” means: ‘truth’ has meaning only for closed systems (such as all games, including all religions); in contrast, for open systems, in reality, ‘truth’ can be approached only asymptotically, via the scientific method. And as for “trustworthy”, how’s this: I think that far more trustworthy than any claim in the Bible is the idea that Huckabee should NOT be a candidate running for the justifiable right (given to him by the people, not any god) to occupy the White House; more appropriate would be if he were running from medical authorities who justifiably want him incarcerated in a nut house.

Nonetheless, I agree that Huck seems to have “a big heart”, has developed skills at giving other people’s money away, and is quite an entertainer. But those are desired traits of a local preacher, not the president of this country.

Therefore, Huck, what I’d recommend is that you stop running – both for the presidency and from the authorities. The latter really wouldn’t be so bad as you apparently imagine. So your father beat you mercilessly when you were a kid; so you replaced him with an imagined merciful father in heaven; it’s okay; lots of kids do that – and lots of fathers, too. Your father beat you because he was brainwashed into believing it was best – by a bunch of clerical parasites; the same occurred for you; so, you beat your kids; and you passed the same message on when you were pastor. But it’s time to get over it all. Forgive your dad; try to make amends to your own kids and your congregation; and move on.

Don’t you see, Huck? You’re not the “right stuff” to be president. Instead, think about this: when your psychiatrist thinks you can handle it, go to a real university, get a real education and a real degree; then, see where you might be able to go from there – as a producer rather than a parasite.



Ridiculing Romney's Religious Rant

Keltoi: I disagree with your comment:
On a related topic, the presidential candidate for the U.S. presidency, Mitt Romney, gave a fairly good speech last Thursday. It was a good reminder that there should be no religious test for office.
First, I disagree with your assessment of Romney’s speech: I would describe it not as “fairly good” but “absolutely horrible.”

For the possible benefit of others, I’ll start with some background. In my view, the Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney (former governor of Massachusetts and a Mormon) felt it necessary to give the speech (the text of which is available online) because he was slipping in the Iowa polls relative to Mike Huckabee (a former governor of Arkansas and Baptist pastor). Therefore, Romney’s political strategy was to give a nationally advertised and televised speech to “defend” his “religious credentials”, under attack by many evangelical Christians, better described as the “Christian Reich.”

Now, look at some of the details in his speech. Early in it, setting its tone, Romney proposed:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
Really? “Freedom requires religion”? “Religion” meaning in some way to “commune with God”? Because I’ve found no evidence to support the existence of an invisible friend in the sky that Romney calls “God”, then I can’t be free? Romney has an invisible friend in the sky who requires that HE be obeyed, and yet, I’m the one who isn’t free? And exactly what shade of black is Romney’s white?

Then there’s Romney’s: “religion requires freedom.” Really? Aren’t the Iranians, Pakistanis, Saudis, and so on, religious? Are they “free”? Isn’t Romney religious? Is he “free”? Really? Free to think outside his indoctrination? Can he even think for himself?

And look again at: “Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God.” How does Romney “discover” his “beliefs”: by evaluating evidence or by “listening to his heart” – or similar to Bush, by responding to what “his gut” tells him? That’s how Bush got us into the Iraq war; it’s called the “Proof by Pleasure Fallacy”. Rather than “commune with God”, how about communing with relevant data?

And then there’s Romney’s: “Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.” Really? What evidence supports such as stupid statement? How about if his claim was at least stated more clearly: “Freedom and the science of savages called ‘religion’ endure together, or perish alone”? Is Romney a candidate for President of the United States or President of his Church? Did his bachelor’s degree in arts, his master’s in business administration, and his law degree really provide him with appropriate preparation to convey to the American public his scientific model of the universe?

Later in his speech, Romney had special condemnation for “secularists”:
… in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It’s as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
Look again at Romney’s “the religion of secularism.” No doubt it’s meant to be a damning indictment, but what is its meaning? Secularism means separation of Church and State – and in case Romney doesn’t know, it’s a concept contained in our Constitution.

But if by ‘religion’ is meant “ideas to cling to” or “ideas that hold a group together”, and if Romney meant by ‘secularism’ something similar to “scientific humanism”, then I would agree that there is a “religion of secularism.” It means something similar to: reject the science concocted by savages (i.e., “the God idea”) and replace it with the best ideas that the scientific method has been able to generate ever since the science of savages was found to be stupid. As Mangasarian said: “Religion is the science of children; science is the religion of adults.” From which it follows that Romney has the mental development of a child.

And as if to confirm that idea, Romney added:
We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from “the God who gave us liberty… Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government.”

What nonsense! No god gave Americans liberty. I am an American and I do not “acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God.” What liberty we have was paid for by the blood and limbs and lives of those who fought the tyrants who would impose their stupid ideas on us – such as their stupid religious ideas – and just as Romney and Muslim terrorists seek to do.

In sum, Romney’s ideas are more closely allied to those of the Dark Ages than were those of the founders of this country, not only Paine and Jefferson and Madison, but even John Adams, whom Romney quotes:

In John Adam’s words: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution,” he said, “was made for a moral and religious people.”

What Romney neglected to mention (amazingly convenient for him) were that the quotation from Adams was contained in a letter to army officers and that the concepts in the letter are wholly consistent with Adams’ application of Seneca the Younger’s principle:

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.

Thus, although what Romney quoted shows that President Adams considered religion to be “useful” (especially for manipulating the troops), other quotations from Adams shows that he considered religion to be “false”. Some examples of Adams’ assessment follow:

The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.

Indeed, Mr. Jefferson, what could be invented to debase the ancient Christianism which Greeks, Romans, Hebrews and Christian factions, above all the Catholics, have not fraudulently imposed upon the public?

The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning... And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

The quandary that Adams found himself in, derived from his application of Seneca’s principle, was described well by Cliff Walker, who created “Positive Atheism’s Bill List of Quotations” (from which the above Adams’ quotations were taken). Walker wrote:
Oft-Misquoted Adams Quip

What you see in a great many atheistic quotes lists:
“This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it!!!”
– John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson.

What Adams was saying, in its actual context:

“Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!’ But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.” – John Adams, quoted from Charles Francis Adams, ed., Works of John Adams (1856), vol. X, p. 254

John Adams is here describing to Thomas Jefferson what he sees as an emotion-based ejaculatory thought that keeps coming to him. This was not his reasoned opinion. Although John Adams often felt an urge to advocate atheism as a popular worldview (because of the sheer abuses perpetrated by religious charlatans), he was of the firm and reasoned opinion (basically undisputed in his day) that religion is essential to the goal of keeping the masses in line.

Knowing what we know today, to say this is pure slander against atheists. And yet it is still quite popular, especially among the uneducated, the widespread acknowledgement of its falsehood notwithstanding.

Thus, Adams was not above presenting such travesties as his National Day of Prayer and Fasting proclamation. These acts reflected his view that the masses needed religion to keep this world from becoming a bedlam. However, Adams, like Washington and Jefferson, did not apply this reasoning to himself – as we can plainly see from the quotations in the main section: religion was good for the masses but not for John Adams (for the most part), who was above all that and needed no piety in order to maintain his own sense of civility.

Meanwhile and in contrast, it’s not clear to me if Romney’s statement, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind”, means that he regards such nonsense as “true” or as just “useful”. But even giving Romney the benefit of the doubt that he’s smart enough to manipulate the masses, I’d bet that he “truly believes” that he has an invisible friend with him who wants him to take up residence at the White House – rather than a nut house!

Consequently, Keltoi, I also disagree with your: “It [Romney’s speech] was a good reminder that there should be no religious test for office.” Of course I agree that there should be no religious test for office, but I would maintain that anyone who claims to have an invisible friend in the sky with him is unfit for any political office.

And wilberhum, although I rarely disagree with you, I don’t think that your comment is sufficiently penetrating. You stated
We shouldn't judge anyone based on religion. Each and every religion has good and evil people in them.

I recall the great comment by Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg:

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Yet, I think that Weinberg’s assessment should be generalized – to something of the form:

With or without some ideology driving them, good people would be doing good things and evil people would be doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes some crazy ideology, such as Nazism, Communism, or any of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Mormonism.