Great quote on “militant” atheism

Nick Cohen, via Ophelia:

If you turn on the news tonight and hear of a bomber slaughtering civilians anywhere from  Nigeria to the London Underground, I can reassure you of one point: the bombers will not be readers of Richard Dawkins.

  • B-Lar

    Watch out. It would probably make fundy-sense to bomb something and claim it in the name of Dawkins.

    Violence and lies to dissuade and distract.

  • http://rockstarramblings.blogspot.com/ Bronze Dog

    To be called a militant fundamentalist whatever, you generally have to blow something up, or at least advocate blowing something up.

    To be called a militant atheist, all you have to do is assert that you exist and are an atheist.

  • http://bigwhiteogre.blogspot.com Jon

    So no US Air Force bombers read Dawkins?

    • furtivezoog

      There probably are some who do, of course, but “militant atheists” are hardly in command positions throughout the military command structure or its civilian leadership, nor is there a “militant atheist” dogma motivating or directing the US air force bombers.

      • http://bigwhiteogre.blogspot.com Jon

        Nor is Islamic dogma the primary motivation of suicide bombers from Islamic countries today. Read “Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.” The most fundamentalist Islamic state (Iran) does not produce suicide bombers, whereas less fundamentalist states do. The difference between them is that Iran is not occupied by a foreign government and Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Lebanon were.

        The most prolific suicide terror group prior to 9-11 was the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. They are an expressly secular group. Yet they regard their homeland as having been occupied by a foreign power.

        How do you know there are not militant atheists in the US military? Obama isn’t too serious about his Christianity. It’s more cultural. The amount of bombings he orders puts all the Muslims to shame. He bombs US citizens that are not in battle zones without even charging them with a crime. Also bombs their kids, also born in the US. Bombs almost exclusively civilians in Pakistan, Yemen.

        Nick Cohen is right about one thing though. Turn on the news and you won’t hear about it. You only hear about “scary Muslim” bombings, not the far more deadly and far more frequent bombings that are being carried out by the US military.

    • piero

      I’m sorry, I don’t want to be offensive, but I can’t help it: your analogy was absolutely stupid.

      A militant Muslim (an Islamist, if you prefer) can blow himself up or place a bomb in a rival Islamic mosque or a London Tube station because he wants to.

      A bomber pilot has been given orders by his commander. Most probably, he or she woud like to be at home with his or her kids rather than having to accomplish a dangerous mission. Have you ever heard of an American soldier blowing himself up in the middle of a busy Baghdad marketplace in order to kill as many Muslims as possible? True, the American military have committed atrocities too, but let’s be serious: statistically, they are insignificant in comparison to the casualties caused by Muslim fanatics.

      Don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that American soldiers are angels and Muslims are devils; I just wanted to highlight how inappropriate your analogy was.

      • Pirate

        I admit to not having much access to the internal lives of Muslim extremists, but I am fairly confident that a large proportion of suicide bombers would also rather be at home with their families in some prudential sense.

        As for your claim about the statistical insignificance of civilian deaths caused by the American military compared to those caused by suicide bombers, I’m not sure what you’re basing it on. It is certainly true that if one looks at civilian deaths caused by the American military in, say, the past century, the number completely dwarfs the deaths due to Islamic (or indeed any) suicide bombers.

        If you’re talking about a more restricted comparison, such as, say, deaths in the Iraq war, then your point is slightly closer to correct. It is true that suicide bombers have probably killed more civilians in Iraq than the American military has. But the numbers are not as unbalanced as you suggest. Numbers based on data from Iraq Body Count suggest 12,284 civilian deaths by suicide bombing and 11,516 civilian deaths caused by the coalition forces.


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