Two graphs illustrating the relationship between bigotry and stupidity

Andrew Gelman of Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science brings us the “(Worst) graph of the year.

It’s a graph that purports to show the tendency toward violent militancy of “pious and devout” believers from various world religions. Which is to say it’s a piece of execrable BS tossed together by anti-Muslim bigots who suckered the FBI into paying them for this nonsense.

No, really, the Federal Bureau of Investigation paid for this in the name of “counter-terrorism” training.

Says Gelman:

I’m sort of amazed to see pious and devout Christians listed as being maximally violent at the beginning. Huh? I thought Christ was supposed to be a nonviolent, mellow dude. The line starts at 3 B.C., implying that baby Jesus was at the extreme of violence.

The chart shows Christianity progressing in a straight line from “violent” to “nonviolent” — a 45-degree upward slope with no regression or variation. No Crusades, no Thirty Years War, no Colonial genocides, no American slavery — just a linear progression from the vicious brutality of the original 12 apostle-terrorists on up until the current papacy of John Howard Yoder.

This is all supposedly in contrast to Islam which, as the chart notes, is some six centuries younger than Christianity. Just for fun, think about the violence and constant warring within  Christianity six centuries ago. This was a time when Christian nations and competing Christian popes were waging total war against one another. The closest thing to a peace plan anyone in Christendom had at the time was to organize crusades against the infidels just to give the devout and pious Christian knights something to do besides plunder and pillage their own kingdoms. The most violent extremist fringe of any religion in the contemporary world can’t even begin to rival the warlike brutality that defined Christianity 600 years ago, and for centuries before and after that time. Yet that half-millennium of constant, brutal war and atrocity is shown on the ridiculous graph above as a linear progression toward nonviolence.

Spencer Ackerman has more on this horrifically stupid “counterterrorism training” and the morons peddling this hateful nonsense:

The FBI isn’t just treading on thin legal ice by portraying ordinary, observant Americans as terrorists-in-waiting, former counterterrorism agents say. It’s also playing into al-Qaida’s hands.

Focusing on the religious behavior of American citizens instead of proven indicators of criminal activity like stockpiling guns or using shady financing makes it more likely that the FBI will miss the real warning signs of terrorism. And depicting Islam as inseparable from political violence is exactly the narrative al-Qaida spins — as is the related idea that America and Islam are necessarily in conflict. That’s why FBI whistleblowers provided Danger Room with these materials.

Consider this one more piece of evidence that the choice to embrace bigotry is also a choice to embrace stupidity.

Since we began with one graphic, let’s conclude with a second:

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  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Also odd – There are Crescents signifying Islam… up in the “Nonviolence Cloud”, but the line for Islam never goes anywhere near it.

    … wut?

    Also the Poor Star of David has been reduced to a bad stippling effect… my gods bad-chart-is-bad.

  • Anonymous

    I saw details on this FBI graph ‘thing’ a while back and couldn’t believe how they could possibly justify using such material to TRAIN new anti-terrorism agents.

    o.O

    On the revelation of this, many people noted how silly it was … how stupid, but I don’t think stupidity covers it. As you say, it is bigotry writ large.

    What worries me most is, you might expect this kind of thing to occur in the CIA – given it is much more secretive and closed. In a closed system, these things can happen with a greater ease.

    But the FBI – once past their Hoover espisode and the 60’s tango … has worked hard to operate on the right-side of civil liberties and decency.

    When the CIA – over the last decade – loaned agents to the NYPD to get a police-centric anti-terrorist program going … they did so very carefully, trying not to let te FBI in on much of anything for fear they’d object (being goodey goodeys and such).

    All I can say is, if the FBI keeps going along paths such as using this ‘graph’ in training – the CIA might not have to worry much longer.

    When a domestic intelligence/enforement agency becomes closed – that’s when the nations citizen should start to exercise concern.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah – apparently the guy who made  it was previously engaged by the CIA, before being let go. He was also behind FBI training material that, in the references for ‘things to read to learn about Islam’ had many disreputable and discredited books/papers listed. Basically – a host of ‘Why you should hate Islam’ kinda missives.

    Apparently, they were so impressed by that effort, they gave him MORE to do *sigh*

  • Anonymous

    Yeah – apparently the guy who made  it was previously engaged by the CIA, before being let go. He was also behind FBI training material that, in the references for ‘things to read to learn about Islam’ had many disreputable and discredited books/papers listed. Basically – a host of ‘Why you should hate Islam’ kinda missives.

    Apparently, they were so impressed by that effort, they gave him MORE to do *sigh*

  • Lori

     Apparently, they were so impressed by that effort, they gave him MORE to do *sigh*  

    Yeah, this guy should never have been hired in the first place. (What is up with people picking up the CIA’s cast-offs? That never ends well, and I don’t just mean Curveball.) Apparently he did one training and will not be working for the FBI again, but the problem they have in this area goes deeper than this one guy and his idiotic graph. 

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/09/19/1018330/-FBI-says-no-more-anti-Muslim-training,-but-the-problem-runs-deep

    This is one of the major problems with the security state we’ve created since 9/11. It feeds on itself in ways that are almost always negative. When I was in grad school I dealt with a number of FBI counterterrorism people and none of them were like this, but those people were a selected subset and it’s not difficult to imagine that they weren’t typical. The way we’ve set up the feedback loops in the system this sort of thing is sadly all but inevitable. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Venn Diagrams! :D

    Seriously, though, that “graph” is a complete embarrassment. How did they quantify the data? Did they include any discussion of error bars? Their assumptions? Deficiencies in the treatment that were compensated for by judicious choice of data sets?

    I get that sometimes graphs can be used qualitatively to reinforce a purely conceptual point, and this may be one of them, but graphs also tend to lend an aura of “science-y-ness” over something, and that’s not always warranted, because you can make graphs lie a lot without ever touching the underlying data or assumptions.

  • Becca Stareyes

    Oh, heavens, yes.  This graph could be about cat-owners versus dog-owners and it would make my scientist heart cry.  The fact that this is a Real Thing (as opposed to ‘lack of pirates causes global warming!’) involving Real People in Real Religions and funded by my government…

    Look, give me the money and I can make a real graph.  With numbers on both axes and helpful explanatory text that tells you exactly how I got the data (and how you can do it too)!  And also pretty space pictures, because everyone likes those, am I right?  I can also even throw in some stars and crescents, and if the telescope’s secondary mirror is the right shape, there’ll be crosses as well. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Venn Diagrams! :D

    Seriously, though, that “graph” is a complete embarrassment. How did they quantify the data? Did they include any discussion of error bars? Their assumptions? Deficiencies in the treatment that were compensated for by judicious choice of data sets?

    I get that sometimes graphs can be used qualitatively to reinforce a purely conceptual point, and this may be one of them, but graphs also tend to lend an aura of “science-y-ness” over something, and that’s not always warranted, because you can make graphs lie a lot without ever touching the underlying data or assumptions.

  • Anonymous

    It’s easy to pick on what’s wrong with this graph. Probably because as far as I can tell there is NOTHING right about it. Not even in a broken clock way. Man, where do I sign up for that government check?

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    It’s easy to pick on what’s wrong with this graph. Probably because as
    far as I can tell there is NOTHING right about it. Not even in a broken
    clock way. Man, where do I sign up for that government check?

    Down at the Wingnut Welfare Office, I believe.

  • Random Lurker

    Quantify the data? It’s a straight line! There was obviously no data in the first place.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You can get straight lines for quite a few things, such as the proportionality of absorbance to concentration. ;)

  • Anonymous

    Absorbance to concentration? Only for low concentrations. So, IOW, the line isn’t straight if you go out far enough. :P

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Caveats, caveats. ;)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Caveats, caveats. ;)

  • P J Evans

    You can get straight lines for quite a few things, such as the proportionality of absorbance to concentration. ;)

    Isotopic half-lives also come to mind. (Did that: Radioactivity. It was an interesting class, even if the scintillation counter didn’t show up in time. The instructor couldn’t get pitchblende from Poland, either, but he did get pitchblende from somewhere else.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yay log-scale decay curves! :P

  • Lori

    You can also get a straight line (with some outliers) by employing perfectly legitimate statistical techniques. That’s the nature of that kind of graph. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Focusing on the religious behavior of American citizens instead of proven indicators of criminal activity like stockpiling guns or using shady financing makes it more likely that the FBI will miss the real warning signs of terrorism.

    But if they profiled on that basis, a lot of good and Godly Christians who collect firearms and funnel their money through tax-exempt Church organizations will find themselves under scrutiny and possibly inconvenience from the government!  And what kind of America is this where gun-collecting, charity funneling Christians are looked upon with suspicion?  

    Clearly more evidence of the morally degraded, fallen world we find ourselves in.  [/sarcasm]

  • Hawker40

    A ‘graph’ with two data points will give you a straight line…

  • Anonymous

    A ‘graph’ with two data points will give you a straight line…

    Actually only one is necessary. The other being the origin (0,0). 
     
    Or in this case (MaxViolence, ReligionStartDate). MaxViolence is a universal constant derived from first principles. ReligionStartDate depends on the religion. Silly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    Great article and comments as usual, but one small quibble:

    :Actually only one is necessary. The other being the origin (0,0). ”

    In that case (0,0) **IS** a data point. 

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    What, nothing indicating the 1,800 or so years when Jews didn’t get much of a chance to be violent?

  • Anonymous

    The chart shows Christianity progressing in a straight line from
    “violent” to “nonviolent” — a 45-degree upward slope with no regression
    or variation. No Crusades, no Thirty Years War, no Colonial genocides,
    no American slavery

    But, the people who did those violent things weren’t true Christians so it doesn’t count, just like mainstream Muslims aren’t true Muslims and therefore their nonviolence doesn’t count.  You can make a chart say anything if you get to arbitrarily decide who gets to be in each group.

  • Anonymous

    That chart is so badly designed and content-free, it looks like something out of a Reagan address.  At least Reagan’s graphs looked clean, though.  With this one, dude just drew some random lines, then dumped his bowl of Lucky Charms on the scanner and called it a day.

    And of course since there’s no actual data to graph, there’s nothing here that wouldn’t be clearer and quicker to just say with words — “Christians and Jews have been getting more peaceful over the years, but Muslims haven’t” — but you’ve gotta have graphs, right?

    There’s just so much to object to even before going into the accuracy of the claims themselves.  The one consolation is that probably nobody in the audience was paying the slightest attention by this point in the briefing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804043045 Abdul Jah

    I think that’s the worst part, for me. He took thousands of dollars in government money and he couldn’t at least make it look nice. It’s one thing to lie, but lying poorly — with hesitations, false starts, awkward, confusing visuals, and general sloppiness — that’s pretty disgraceful. Did he not have access to a ruler?

  • twig

    Clippy the Paperclip notices you are making a bigoted information chart… would you like to add actual data?

  • piny

    But…Clippy really is a servant of Satan.  You don’t need a chart to know that.

  • Tonio

    I had pictured Clippy aged and bent a wheelchair in an Old Bytes Rest Home, but Microsoft showed his grave in a video clip promoting Office 2010.

  • Lonespark

    What?  Really?  That’s kind of creepy.

  • Jenora Feuer

    You know, one of the first things I noticed when looking at that graph wasn’t so much the graph itself as the little weird little boxy pattern in the corner and gradient bar along the top.  That’s pixel.pot, one of the standard PowerPoint design templates.

    Having identified it as a PowerPoint presentation (and one using a Microsoft default template rather than an official corporate template, at that), I just sort of assumed from that point on that it wasn’t worth looking at, and barely even noticed the rest of the graph at first…

  • http://scientistcarrie.blogspot.com/ snowmentality

    I’m sorry, what are the little crosses and crescents floating around? Are those supposed to be the data points? Because if so, that is some really spurious regression. You have four data points in the past couple centuries, and you’re extrapolating back to 3 BC? And if the lines are just supposed to be illustrative of a concept, then the little crosses and crescents are illustrative of….stuff?

    And what the heck is with that giant five-pointed star? Is that supposed to be drawing our attention to the “Islam” line, or is it just hanging out near the crescents?

    Edward Tufte wept.

  • Anonymous

    A look at the presentation reveals that there are no data points. The entire graph is just misleading visual clutter around a previous slide with nonviolent believers of all 3 religions (represented by a randomly placed cloud of icons) on the top and Muslim extremists on the bottom. The lines are there to indicate that al Qaeda is right, that the “pious and devout” Muslims are just as violent and moderate Muslims, the kind who agree with Christians and Jews, do not “have the moral high ground.”

  • http://scientistcarrie.blogspot.com/ snowmentality

    Oh, certainly understood that. Most of my comment was rhetorical (and sarcastic). [grin]

  • http://scientistcarrie.blogspot.com/ snowmentality

    Oh, certainly understood that. Most of my comment was rhetorical (and sarcastic). [grin]

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    My statement was also sarcastic.

    You… do understand this, yes?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    My statement was also sarcastic.

    You… do understand this, yes?

  • Anonymous

    “The lines are there to indicate that al Qaeda is right, that the “pious and devout” Muslims are just as violent and moderate Muslims, the kind who agree with Christians and Jews, do not “have the moral high ground.”

    I have noticed this about people who are determined to see Islam as inherently violent–they will flat-out deny the right of people to call themselves Muslims while not being psychopaths.

    “I’m a Muslim, who believes in freedom of religion, rule of secular law and the equality of all people. I derive these beliefs from my faith…”

    “NO YOU DON’T!! DON’T YOU DARE!!! LIAR!! LIAR!!”

    I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who, while claiming to fight a war against terror, seem just as deeply offended as al-Zawahiri by Muslims who reject terror.

    “I’m on your side dumbass!!”

    “NOT UNTIL YOU BECOME A PROTESTANT AND GO ON A LECTURE TOUR ABOUT THE EVILS OF ISLAM YOU AIN’T!!”

  • Anonymous

    I’m trying to think of ways one could model this sort of thing. Violent events per adherents as a function of year? Does one only count state-sponsered violence (in which Judaism gets, oh, 1800 years of no violence before a sharp *increase* [1] in recent years), or does one count individual acts of violence as well? Does “violence” include actions against individuals or only against a state?

    Also, the x-axis scale is completely wonky.[1] This is not starting a flame war: whatever your opinion about Israel, the existence of a state is pretty much guaranteed to cause an upturn in the number of state-sponsered violent acts, seeing as there was no state to begin with.

  • Fraser

    Even without state-sponsored violence, there’s the Stern Gang.

  • Anonymous

    The line starts at 3 B.C., implying that baby Jesus  was at the extreme of violence.

    When Baby Jesus cries, it causes earthquakes.

    That diagram on bigotry/stupidity reminded me of a quote from this pretty neat Doctor Who review blog, TARDIS Euroditorum (my previous two attempts at this post were apparently eaten by Disqus for linking there, so I encourage any DW fans to Google it), where the author discusses some of the racist stereotypes featured in the older DW episodes:

    That’s what racism is most of the time. It’s not all white-hooded KKK members and Enoch Powell shouting about rivers of blood. It’s people getting so inured to things that they stop being capable of noticing on their own that the only times they put a black man on the show are when they need a mute strongman. I don’t think Davis and Pedler wrote Toberman in while cackling about how this will put black people in their place. I think they wrote him in, along with the rest of the residents of Shiftystan, without even managing to string the thought “Gee, what are we saying about foreigners here” together. Racism, like most forms of discrimination, isn’t about conscious malice, but about unconscious failures to even notice that there’s a problem. More often than not, discrimination is just a particular flavor of stupidity.

  • Fraser

    Having just watched Tomb of the Cybermen, I’d agree with that assessment.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    When Baby Jesus cries, it causes earthquakes.

    And then baby Jesus grew up to be Chuck Norris.  

  • Lonespark

    Baby Jesus vs. Chuck Norris Celebrity Death Match?

  • WingedBeast

    I refer you to Beatrix’s response to the bombing in Norway, and Bill O’Reilly’s at that… well, all of Fox News’s reaction.

    It’s what I call moral equasions.

    “Christian = Good.  Evil = notgood.  Bombing = Evil.  Therefore bombing not done by Christian.”  Reality is, for this kind of thinking, an unwelcome intrudor.  The Inquisitions, the Crusades, the killings of witches and people who speak out against the church.  All of these either have to be recategorized as “Good because of excuse X” or “Real Christians didn’t do these things” or “They’re blown so out of proportion.”

    This is the problem with religious faith in general.  It prioritizes the belief over reality and says that, if reality doesn’t agree with the belief, then reality must be wrong.

  • Lonespark

    Nothing you’re saying applies that much more to religious faith than other ideologies.

  • WingedBeast

    Nothing you’re saying applies that much more to religious faith than other ideologies.

    A little defining, then.  The word “faith” actually seems to have two definitions.

    In the religious context it is “this is my faith and how dare you contradict my faith with reality”.  Yes, this is similar to the faith that if you decrease the taxes on the wealthiest ameri… I mean “Job Creators” that there will be more employment.

    But, there’s another term, which is simply an abiding trust and this one is commonly backed by evidence.  You have faith that your wife will not cheat on you not because this is a random guess or you’ve been told by a priest, you know her, personally, you have developed a trust that is based on everything you know about her and that is actually a faith that is based on evidence.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    A little defining, then.  The word “faith” actually seems to have two definitions.In the religious context it is “this is my faith and how dare you contradict my faith with reality”.  Yes, this is similar to the faith that if you decrease the taxes on the wealthiest ameri… I mean “Job Creators” that there will be more employment.But, there’s another term, which is simply an abiding trust and this one is commonly backed by evidence.  You have faith that your wife will not cheat on you not because this is a random guess or you’ve been told by a priest, you know her, personally, you have developed a trust that is based on everything you know about her and that is actually a faith that is based on evidence.

    No.

    I have faith; it’s religious faith; and it doesn’t at all fit into your first definition.

    I’ve been watching the various conversations about religion going on recently without joining in. But frankly, I’m getting pretty damn sick of your absolutist statements about what religious people think and what their words really mean.

    Other people have pulled you up on it but it keeps coming back. If you’re religious and it’s what you think, say that. If you’re not, say “this is what I think about how other people think”.

    Either way, bloody stop telling everyone how we think when it doesn’t come remotely close.

  • Albanaeon

    Gods, that’s pathetic as a graph.  As Abdul Jah pointed out, it’s incredibly sloppy.  It doesn’t have anything to indicate *how* they got their information.  Heck we can’t even tell what their information is related to.  Not that I would think it would make sense anyway.  Is it only when they are actually citing religion is it counted, because a lot of the people fighting all of the 20th century conflicts were Christians.  So, Christians are becoming more peaceful while fighting conflicts that MILLIONS died in, and stockpiling weapons that could incinerate the planet?  But the Muslims, they’re the ones with a problem.  Right…

  • Albanaeon

    Gods, that’s pathetic as a graph.  As Abdul Jah pointed out, it’s incredibly sloppy.  It doesn’t have anything to indicate *how* they got their information.  Heck we can’t even tell what their information is related to.  Not that I would think it would make sense anyway.  Is it only when they are actually citing religion is it counted, because a lot of the people fighting all of the 20th century conflicts were Christians.  So, Christians are becoming more peaceful while fighting conflicts that MILLIONS died in, and stockpiling weapons that could incinerate the planet?  But the Muslims, they’re the ones with a problem.  Right…

  • Lonespark

    This line of thought reminds me of a headdesk conversation I was having over on The Wild Hunt where some tool was claiming that white people are oppressed (possibly more oppressed than people of color?  but I have no idea, because the argument was vague and stupid) because they have been subject to genocide and expulsion and so forth by… other white people.

  • Madhabmatics

    I love The Wild Hunt and it’s one of the blogs I read every morning (along with Slacktivist and Failed Messiah) and frankly I always get a chuckle when that comes up (i.e. damn near every thread.)

  • Anonymous

    Is it only when they are actually citing religion is it counted, because a lot of the people fighting all of the 20th century conflicts were Christians. So, Christians are becoming more peaceful while fighting conflicts that MILLIONS died in, and stockpiling weapons that could incinerate the planet? But the Muslims, they’re the ones with a problem. Right…

    Nah, basically you’ve got it, if it isn’t an explicitly religious war, it doesn’t count, for Christians or Jews. Although, you’ll notice that even so, the graph doesn’t work. They probably consider that the Thirty Years War was solely political. If they know what it is. I’ve dealt with yahoos who will insist perfectly straight-faced that the Crusades were simply defensive wars with no religious content at all–on the Christian side.

    If it’s Muslims, all wars, and any act of violence, is religion-mandated, of course.

    These people are very hard to reason with. I have tried. If you back them into a corner they can’t get out of, they fall back on the True Interpretation argument: Jesus preached peace, Mohammed was a war leader. After that, no actual history counts. Christian violence goes away, if it was ‘cultural’ or based on a flawed interpretation.

  • Anonymous

    I think the whole thing reads better as a battle diagram.

    MILITARY CONSIDERATIONS: First we launch a salvo of Cross Missiles and ICBMs (Intercontinental Crescent Ballistic Moons) against enemy emplacements from submarines Torah, Bible, and Koran.  At the same time, we advance ground-based moon units to neutralize soft targets and secure the occupation zone, 2010 km to the east.  They should pass undetected beneath the enemy’s BLACKSTAR satellite network.  We are expecting the most violence to occur at ground level, but adherence to the battle plan by attack groups Pious and Devout should ensure victory.

  • Anonymous

    I think the whole thing reads better as a battle diagram.

    MILITARY CONSIDERATIONS: First we launch a salvo of Cross Missiles and ICBMs (Intercontinental Crescent Ballistic Moons) against enemy emplacements from submarines Torah, Bible, and Koran.  At the same time, we advance ground-based moon units to neutralize soft targets and secure the occupation zone, 2010 km to the east.  They should pass undetected beneath the enemy’s BLACKSTAR satellite network.  We are expecting the most violence to occur at ground level, but adherence to the battle plan by attack groups Pious and Devout should ensure victory.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    We are expecting the most violence to occur at ground level, but adherence to the battle plan by attack groups Pious and Devout should ensure victory.

    That sounds exactly like something out of Warhammer 40,000.  

  • Grey Seer

    As a big fan of that universe, I tend to apply the following shorthand rule to all political and sociological issues.
    “If one person’s views could be accurately represented by a 40k quote, something has gone seriously wrong somewhere”.

    Seriously. I can think of several dozen times where various people might as well be yelling “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!” at the top of their lungs.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    To be honest, the degree to which some of the political arguments I have seen lately resemble Imperial dogma are concerning.  

    “An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.”
    “A logical argument must be refuted with absolute conviction.”  
    “Suffer not the unclean to live.”  
    “Be thankful for thy master’s punishment for it is well deserved and it improves thee.”

    All of which seem to sum up attitudes I have seen recently.  Given that, the promises of the Ruinous Powers seem somewhat appealing.  

    “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!  SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!  LET! THE GALAXY! BURN!”  

  • Rikalous

    All of which seem to sum up attitudes I have seen recently.  Given that,
    the promises of the Ruinous Powers seem somewhat appealing.

    “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!  SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!  LET! THE GALAXY! BURN!”

    Enough about that thug! The other three are where it’s at. Papa Nurgle loves you just the way you are , Slaanesh throws the best parties, and worshiping Tzeentch means never being bored again. What’s Khorne have to offer?

  • Albanaeon

    Bloody flaming death, spread ubiquitously?

  • Albanaeon

    Bloody flaming death, spread ubiquitously?

  • Rikalous

    The ubiquitousness troubles me. You shouldn’t have to worry about the commander shanking you because he’s frustrated about his inability to hit an actual enemy. Unless you’re an Ork, of course.

  • Albanaeon

    I was pointing out what Khorne offered.  I didn’t say you would necessarily *like* it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LoneWolf343 Derek Laughlin

    Orks shouldn’t have to worry about it either, but it reasonable for them to expect it more.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    What’s Khorne have to offer?

    “MILK FOR THE KHORNE FLAKES!  THANKS KHARN, YOU’RE A REAL SWELL GUY!”

  • Apocalypse Review

    *gigglesnorts*

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Enough about that thug! The other three are where it’s at. Papa Nurgle loves you just the way you are , Slaanesh throws the best parties, and worshiping Tzeentch means never being bored again. What’s Khorne have to offer?

    More seriously, what Khorne does have that the other three Ruinous Powers do not is a catchy battlecry.  Granted, being, you know, a god of battle and bloodlust, they kind of would have the catchiest battlecry.  The others have their own areas of depravity, and some of that depravity can be expressed on the battlefield, but Khorne?  The battlefield (appropriately soaked in the blood of anyone courageous enough or foolish enough to find themselves upon it) itself is what pleases him.  

    Sure, the other three have some nice screeds one can quote, but they just lack the straightforward and self-explainatory nature of “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!” which is why I choose to post it.  

  • Madhabmatics

    Nurgle is the best chaos god, literally rotting patriarches erry day.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Nurgle is the best chaos god, literally rotting patriarches erry day.

    Yeah, but Nurgle is not quite so active.  He is a patient patron, and entropy brings all things to him eventually.  His is a way of sloth, giving up and surrendering to the inevitable.  You can relax, gradually wallowing in your own filth, Nurgle still loves you anyway.  And now matter how much you are hurt, Nurgle will take away your pain, so just learn to accept it.  Do this for him, and he will give you plenty of gifts, pets to play with and nourish from your own body, and you can share those gifts with others, that all may be comforted under the magnanimous blessings of Papa Nurgle.  

    “Come to my embrace, I have gifts for one and all.  Rejoice!  Nurgle loves you.”

  • Anonymous

    Now I can’t get ‘METAL BAWKSES’ out of my head.

  • Jenora Feuer

    And now I can’t get ‘Little boxes made of ticky-tacky’ out of my head.  Yay for mutating cultural references.

  • Albanaeon

    I keep saying that it’s an attempt to get the younger voter group.  The strategists see what the young people are playing with (minds out of the gutter folks…) and say “Hey, distopian futures are in!  Corporate feudalism?  We can do that!  Murderous religions?  That’s easy!” 

    And thus is born the latest Republican platform.

  • Lonespark

    Moon units FTW.

  • Albanaeon

    Oh, I know.  Let’s use this graph to sub in other religions.  Let’s go ahead and assume that Muslims are the outlier on this system and go with propensity towards violence as a decreasing function of time.

    Let’s see, Taoism is over two thousand, so that puts it pretty much up their with Christianity.  Good to know.

    Hinduism’s got a good three hundred years on Judaism, so they’ve got to be near pacifistic.

    Various pagan traditions?  Well, assuming a continuous practice tradition, then damn near peaceful. 

    But we’d better watch out for those Mormons.  They’d still be near the ultra-violence levels.  And Scientologists?  According to this graph, they are slaughtering entire cities and kicking puppies at random.

    And atheism, probably the oldest of religious positions (hard to believe in gods when they haven’t been invented yet), well, they have to be damn near “Star Trek Energy Beings” by how peaceful they should be by now.

    Hmm…  Guess stupid graph is stupid sums it up.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    And atheism, probably the oldest of religious positions (hard to believe in gods when they haven’t been invented yet), well, they have to be damn near “Star Trek Energy Beings” by how peaceful they should be by now.

    Hey, some of those Star Trek energy beings were colossal jerks.  

  • Rikalous

    Hey, some of those Star Trek energy beings were colossal jerks.

    Q was a tool, but he wasn’t really violent.

  • chris the cynic

    Not himself, at least not on screen although there were certainly indications that he might be*, but he did certainly get people killed.  Consider throwing the ship into the path of the Borg just to make a point, for example.

    And didn’t he threaten to annihilate humanity when he first showed up?  (I tend not to watch episodes pre-beard and I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually seen the pilot.)-*Consider when he became human and got attacked by one of the pissed off at him things he had toyed with.  When he got his powers back is first thing was to capture them and then- he was reminded his powers could be removed again.  We never saw what his plan for revenge was.

  • Lonespark

    Wait, since when are the energy beings peaceful?  Or are they peaceful because they don’t exist?  Do these people think atheists don’t exist?  I’m soooo confuuused!!

  • Tonio

    Not in the case of this graph, but when red-baiting was replaced by jihad-baiting, I imagined bureaucrats and demagogues thinking that they could reuse the old materials on the Red Menace by deleting the hammer and the sickle’s handle.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Wow… looking at a larger version of the graph reveals even more stupidity.

    Just to pick one element out: the Y-axis begins at “violence” and moves to “nonviolence”. No matter what data you want to use, or how you want to quantify these measures, if your two end points are “Y” and “not-Y”, then you should start with “not-X” and move to “X”. (or, your 0,0 point should be in the upper left corner instead of the lower left corner) This isn’t all that tricky. The Y-axis should begin at “non-violent” and move up to increasing levels of violent.

    Oh, and the “adherence by the pious and devout” lines? Talk about your “No True Scotsman” in action!

  • WingedBeast

    I think there was only one set of sentient energy-beings.  There was that energy based whatever that just sapped people of their life-force.  There was another that fed on negative emotion.  But, neither seriously seemed to be conscious.  They were just doing what they did.

    Only the one sentient energy beings, the ones that had evolved past the need for physical bodies and were just so annoyingly peaceful that you almost didn’t blame the Klingons for killing a few of them (when the Klingons thought that’s what they were doing).

    Whatever Q was, Q was omnipotent and can’t really be considered an energy being or a matter being.

  • chris the cynic

    Well there was John from … um … *google, help me* Transfigurations, who was rapidly evolving into an energy being because evolution has levels (don’t you know?), and his speices was just starting to level up.*

    Other than him, I’m not thinking of any sentient energy beings beyond the ones you mentioned.

    *From a science standpoint this plot, done in much more than just Star Trek, is so very wrong.

  • http://lihan161051.livejournal.com/ Bruce

    “Edward Tufte wept.”

    This.  ;)

    Obviously someone in the FBI has never even *heard* of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information..

  • Lonespark

    Probably too many people.  A moment of silence is in order…

  • http://lihan161051.livejournal.com/ Bruce

    “Just to pick one element out: the Y-axis begins at “violence” and moves to “nonviolence”. No matter what data you want to use, or how you want to quantify these measures, if your two end points are “Y” and “not-Y”, then you should start with “not-X” and move to “X”. (or, your 0,0 point should be in the upper left corner instead of the lower left corner) This isn’t all that tricky. The Y-axis should begin at “non-violent” and move up to increasing levels of violent. ”

    Unless you want to make the point that “less violent” means “closer to heaven” and/or “more Godly”.  (and maybe imply that those ‘violent Muslim extremists’ are closer to hell where one is trying to suggest that they might belong..)

  • Anonymous

    Because I was bored, I decided to try my hand at making an improved chart.  Granted I’m still pulling figures out of my ass, but it’s probably still much more accurate.

  • Anonymous

    It’s better, but where are the labels for the axes?  Also, what kind of data did you use, or did you just pull it out of somewhere?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, like I said, I pretty much pulled it out of my ass.  The x axis is a timeline and the y axis is some sort of non-violence index based subjectively on whether there was some major religiously motivated conflict at that point if time, if so, who were the aggressors (that’s why both Islam and Christianity both take a dip during the Crusades, but Christianity is lower because they pretty much started it), and to a lesser extent any major bouts of militant sentiment.  Completely unscientific, but there you go.

  • Anonymous

    Because I was bored, I decided to try my hand at making an improved chart.  Granted I’m still pulling figures out of my ass, but it’s probably still much more accurate.

  • Mr. Heartland

    It looks just like the graph I made proving that English majors from Midwestern state u’s are objectively superior to Ivy League lawyers.

  • Albanaeon

    Typical.  I try to find a near universal shorthand for “ascended being” and everyone starts getting picky on which ones I mean.  Whole buncha geeks around here… :P /affectionate sarcasm

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    First, I would like to “this” everything said thus far.

    Second, I’m enjoying the implication that until *very recently* devout Jews were less violent that devout Christians*. I assume whoever drew this abomination is treating non-violence as virtuous, but their insistence on straight lines and having Christianity and Judaism meet at the top** craps on Christianity just a little bit.

    *Also assuming that the author is more likely to be Christian than Jewish. So I’m not amused because I agree or disagree with the conclusion, but because it looks like they might have shot themselves in the foot.

    **”Don’t focus on earlier nastiness, Jews, we think you’re practically as good as us now!”

  • Madhabmatics

    I think it was Robert that pointed it out earlier in the thread, but yeah, this chart is basically a way to try to take control of who is a “legitimate” follow Islam. Normal Muslims don’t match with the paranoid ravings of most people, so the only way to demonize Islam is to try to say “Oh, the more devout you are the more evil you are. The reason that Mehmet the Turk isn’t trying to kill me is because he really doesn’t believe.”

    “If Muslims hate violence, show me Muslims protesting against the violence!” *shows protest* “Ahh, but they aren’t REAL Muslims, they don’t follow…”

    Which, of course, is bullshit.

    It’s the height of privilege to be an outsider and say, “Only followers of this scholar are real Muslims.” But you see it all the time. “Aha, but your holy book says x, and in my interpretation (which happens to agree with like, one idiot scholar no one listens to) it means y, therefore if you disagree with me you aren’t a real Muslim!” As far as the secular world goes, religion is determined by it’s followers. If the majority of Muslims think you are an idiot for taking something out of context, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t real Muslims, it means that they get to determine what Islam is, not mighty whitey who has a grudge.

  • Jenora Feuer

    And now I can’t get ‘Little boxes made of ticky-tacky’ out of my head.  Yay for mutating cultural references.

  • WingedBeast

    Nothing you’re saying applies that much more to religious faith than other ideologies.

    A little defining, then.  The word “faith” actually seems to have two definitions.

    In the religious context it is “this is my faith and how dare you contradict my faith with reality”.  Yes, this is similar to the faith that if you decrease the taxes on the wealthiest ameri… I mean “Job Creators” that there will be more employment.

    But, there’s another term, which is simply an abiding trust and this one is commonly backed by evidence.  You have faith that your wife will not cheat on you not because this is a random guess or you’ve been told by a priest, you know her, personally, you have developed a trust that is based on everything you know about her and that is actually a faith that is based on evidence.

  • Anonymous

    Well. This is perhaps the most history-free look at the history of religion I’ve ever seen summed up by three lines.

    None of the lines track with anything, or make any sense at all.

  • Anonymous

    Well. This is perhaps the most history-free look at the history of religion I’ve ever seen summed up by three lines.

    None of the lines track with anything, or make any sense at all.

  • Anonymous

    “The lines are there to indicate that al Qaeda is right, that the “pious and devout” Muslims are just as violent and moderate Muslims, the kind who agree with Christians and Jews, do not “have the moral high ground.”

    I have noticed this about people who are determined to see Islam as inherently violent–they will flat-out deny the right of people to call themselves Muslims while not being psychopaths.

    “I’m a Muslim, who believes in freedom of religion, rule of secular law and the equality of all people. I derive these beliefs from my faith…”

    “NO YOU DON’T!! DON’T YOU DARE!!! LIAR!! LIAR!!”

    I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who, while claiming to fight a war against terror, seem just as deeply offended as al-Zawahiri by Muslims who reject terror.

    “I’m on your side dumbass!!”

    “NOT UNTIL YOU BECOME A PROTESTANT AND GO ON A LECTURE TOUR ABOUT THE EVILS OF ISLAM YOU AIN’T!!”

  • Anonymous

    “The chart shows Christianity progressing in a straight line from
    “violent” to “nonviolent” — a 45-degree upward slope with no regression
    or variation. No Crusades, no Thirty Years War, no Colonial genocides,
    no American slavery”

    So apparently Jesus and the Apostles were sort of the Original Gangsta’s of Christianity, which has left that violence and savagery behind it.

  • Anonymous

    “The chart shows Christianity progressing in a straight line from
    “violent” to “nonviolent” — a 45-degree upward slope with no regression
    or variation. No Crusades, no Thirty Years War, no Colonial genocides,
    no American slavery”

    So apparently Jesus and the Apostles were sort of the Original Gangsta’s of Christianity, which has left that violence and savagery behind it.

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