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Cynicism by the Book - Comments

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 1 by Stafford Gordon

He's on form!

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 16:32:55 UTC | #613512

pipsy's Avatar Comment 2 by pipsy

I think I might print this and then burn it. Will still be true though.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 17:45:56 UTC | #613526

pipsy's Avatar Comment 3 by pipsy

I think I might print this and then burn it. Will still be true though.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 17:48:09 UTC | #613527

pipsy's Avatar Comment 4 by pipsy

You cannot forget to be an Atheist, religion continuously reminds us all.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 17:51:16 UTC | #613528

pipsy's Avatar Comment 5 by pipsy

Duplicate post....oops!

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 17:53:03 UTC | #613530

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 6 by Vorlund

"he said, the FBI told him over the telephone that a $2.4 million bounty had been placed on his head in Pakistan."

They take quran burning quite seriously by all accounts. Was it a signed first edition?

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 18:11:28 UTC | #613532

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 7 by quarecuss

Hitch still kickin'.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 18:50:17 UTC | #613540

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 8 by Peter Grant

Nice one Hitch! I like how you place the blame squarely on those responsible, whist still managing to dis the nutty pastor :D

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 18:55:19 UTC | #613541

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 9 by El Bastardo

Comment 1 by Stafford Gordon :

He's on form!

I thought so, yet Jerry Coyne seems to disagree.

Hitch is not in his best form here—the piece almost looks phoned in—but the man’s been ill. Let’s be thankful he’s writing at all.

Personally, I don't think recent events have dulled his talents in any way, but that's just my opinion.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 19:18:12 UTC | #613546

jameshogg's Avatar Comment 10 by jameshogg

You have to love how he demolishes the idea that burning a Koran is somehow "too far" when it comes to freedom of speech and expression.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 19:21:55 UTC | #613549

reebus's Avatar Comment 11 by reebus

"The moronic pastor who burned the Quran after a mock trial would probably refrain from setting fire to human beings."

lol, Hitch spin: any atrocity is within the remit of any religion.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 19:47:16 UTC | #613557

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 12 by SomersetJohn

The moronic pastor who burned the Quran after a mock trial would probably refrain from setting fire to human beings.

Perhaps, but only because the ones he would choose to burn are, in his poor excuse for a mind, going to be immolated by his imaginary friend anyway.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 20:05:31 UTC | #613564

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 13 by Stevehill

"This caps a long period where his behavior has come to seem like a conscious collusion with warlordism, organized crime, and even with elements of the Taliban."

And, given his cheerleading for the installation of US puppet regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, regardless of civilian casualties, this is why - despite his many virtues - I don't trust a word Hitch writes on this topic. He's been proven to be wrong, wrong and wrong again.

But only on this issue, where he seems to have an absurd blind-spot (or is hostage to his own prior enthusiasm for the view that 'a Karzai trumps a Taliban', and sees no graceful way to climb down).

No matter: I love him to bits and he writes well!

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 20:08:39 UTC | #613565

Save me jebuz!'s Avatar Comment 14 by Save me jebuz!

@ stevehill

I'm loath to criticise you as I also have huge admiration (despite serious Iraq reservations) for the man, but isn't it curious how atheistic questioning folk (unlike the godheads) can still disagree with their appointed spokespeople? I admire this quality. If 'don't hate the sinner, hate the sin' weren't such an obvious moral, hence biblical standpoint, I'd say you, Mr Hill were a religious zealot. How possibly could an atheist not agree with his prophet!

It is important not to have a unified front, except in matters of science. Well done that man, we atheists should not be herd followers.

Sat, 09 Apr 2011 23:42:11 UTC | #613605

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 15 by El Bastardo

Comment 13 by Stevehill :

"This caps a long period where his behavior has come to seem like a conscious collusion with warlordism, organized crime, and even with elements of the Taliban."

And, given his cheerleading for the installation of US puppet regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, regardless of civilian casualties, this is why - despite his many virtues - I don't trust a word Hitch writes on this topic. He's been proven to be wrong, wrong and wrong again.

I have to disagree with you there Steve. I don't think he cheer-led the installation of the puppet regimes, more so supporting the overthrow of the dictators in place. The fact that the replacements weren't exactly what we would desire doesn't mean that getting rid of Saddam and the Taliban were bad ideas.

Besides, there are always civilian casualties, be it an internal uprising, such as Libya or Egypt or when a foreign influence is at play, such as Iraq or indeed when America gained independence.

Though I will agree that the writes well, possibly one of the greats of this generation.

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 00:19:43 UTC | #613613

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 16 by Scruddy Bleensaver

A senior member of the BNP who burned a copy of the Qur'an in his garden has been arrested following an investigation by the Observer.

A statement from the Home Office said: "The government absolutely condemns the burning of the Qur'an. It is fundamentally offensive to the values of our pluralist and tolerant society.

BNP election candidate arrested over Qur'an burning

The spirit of Neville Chamberlain lives on in Britain it seems. Now that's what I call Islamophobia -- fear of violent backlash by muslims. I daresay nobody would have cared had it been, say, The Book of Mormon, the Bible, Dianetics, The Torah or, say, an American Flag. Shameful.

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 01:57:16 UTC | #613624

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 17 by Starcrash

The moronic pastor who burned the Quran after a mock trial...

Yet, when faced with the doings of the aforementioned moronic cleric from Gainesville...

Why is it necessary to insult this pastor? He was peacefully protesting a religion that he didn't believe in. We atheists do that, too.

If the Muslims didn't overreact as they often do, would this still have been "moronic"? Is there a "smart" limit to one's protests? For instance, is flag-burning moronic?

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 03:45:37 UTC | #613637

Stublore's Avatar Comment 18 by Stublore

Comment 16 by Scruddy Bleensaver A senior member of the BNP who burned a copy of the Qur'an in his garden has been arrested following an investigation by the Observer.

A statement from the Home Office said: "The government absolutely condemns the burning of the Qur'an. It is fundamentally offensive to the values of our pluralist and tolerant society.

BNP election candidate arrested over Qur'an burning

The spirit of Neville Chamberlain lives on in Britain it seems. Now that's what I call Islamophobia -- fear of violent backlash by muslims. I daresay nobody would have cared had it been, say, The Book of Mormon, the Bible, Dianetics, The Torah or, say, an American Flag. Shameful.

What he should have said was: "Burning the koran(or any book for that matter) is fundamental to our pluralist and tolerant society"! As regards the BNP dude arrested, what I wonder are they going to charge him with? Is it illegal in the UK now to burn books, and document the act?

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 04:57:12 UTC | #613641

mmurray's Avatar Comment 19 by mmurray

Comment 18 by Stublore :

What he should have said was: "Burning the koran(or any book for that matter) is fundamental to our pluralist and tolerant society"! As regards the BNP dude arrested, what I wonder are they going to charge him with? Is it illegal in the UK now to burn books, and document the act?

No it's not illegal to burn books the charge (if there is one) will probably relate to inciting racial or religious hatred as in the law here.

Does anyone know if he has been charged ?

Michael

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 05:20:13 UTC | #613643

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 20 by rjohn19

On comment 17 by Starcrash...

It is alomost impossible not to insult the aforementioned moron. You change minds with superior ideas expressed with eloquent clarity. And, of course, that is still not a sure-fire solution- just ask Richard or Hitch.

What this guy did was substitute a childish, petulant gesture for ideas. He was frustrated and all he could intellectually do was stomp his feet, hold his breath til he turned blue and stick a needle in the eye of what offended him, Christianly obliviious to the probable result of his actions.

When we atheists attack the Bible or Koran, we tend to give reasons why the silly texts make no sense.

This poor sod hadn't that option available to him because it is difficult to explain with a staight face why one batch of bullshit is right and another is wrong so all that was left to him was a tantrum that got innocent people killed.

And whose mind did he change with his pointless gesture? How many Islamists do you suppose pulled the needles out of their eyes and said, "Hey, know what? I think this guy has a point. Now that he's explained it all so clearly, I think I'll switch teams!"

The guy is a bleeping moron and people died for his right to be a moron. One cannot believe what he believes and be bright enough to effectively criticize what anyone else believes. Period. He is a toon.

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 06:46:31 UTC | #613647

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 21 by Stevehill

@ElBastardo

The fact that the replacements weren't exactly what we would desire doesn't mean that getting rid of Saddam and the Taliban were bad ideas.

Lots of countries have crap rulers. Like most of Africa. We have no legal basis under international law for replacing them. We have at best a dubious moral basis for putting our troops in danger on such a mission.

We have a pretty clear duty to fix what we broke, and that includes getting about 5 million Iraqi refugees in other countries back home (which we won't). The consequence of Bush's dick-swinging folly will rumble around the region for generations, and the result will be more terror in the West not less.

This was wholly predictable in March 2003. It was obvious to France. It was obvious to senior Cabinet Minister and former foreign secretary Robin Cook, who resigned over the matter, it was obvious to more than a million people who marched in London, it was obvious to the entire LibDem party. Hitch was surprisingly uncritical and was - as I say - a cheerleader.

And yes, it's good that sometimes atheists can disagree without sending each other to hell!

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 07:46:58 UTC | #613654

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 22 by debonnesnouvelles

Why is it necessary to insult this pastor? He was peacefully protesting a religion that he didn't believe in. We atheists do that, too.

If the Muslims didn't overreact as they often do, would this still have been "moronic"? Is there a "smart" limit to one's protests? For instance, is flag-burning moronic?

To answer your own questions I would suggest you continue reading the following 2 paragraphes of Hitchen's article after the "Read on" on this page, and think about it for a bit.

Maybe I should indulge in some burning of a deck of cards over here. Would that be helpful to your thinking process? I'd gladly help!

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 08:11:59 UTC | #613656

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 23 by Peter Grant

Comment 17 by Starcrash

Why is it necessary to insult this pastor? He was peacefully protesting a religion that he didn't believe in. We atheists do that, too.

If the Muslims didn't overreact as they often do, would this still have been "moronic"? Is there a "smart" limit to one's protests? For instance, is flag-burning moronic?

There should be no limits on free speech based on offence taken. The pastor should be free to insult Muslims and we should free to insult him for his religious motivations. If this guy was a atheist I bet he would have said something a lot more interesting and praiseworthy whist burning the Koran. Or at least have found a cooler way to do it, like using lasers or something :D

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 08:29:36 UTC | #613659

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 24 by Alan4discussion

Comment 17 by Starcrash

The moronic pastor who burned the Quran after a mock trial...

Yet, when faced with the doings of the aforementioned moronic cleric from Gainesville...

Why is it necessary to insult this pastor? He was peacefully protesting a religion that he didn't believe in. We atheists do that, too.

I can see why a xtian cult would take offence at this comment. I can see no reason why rational people should see it as other than an honest appraisal of his intellectual standing,- given his past history.

It reminds me of the joke about why a creationist brain is superior to an atheist brain. - (It is in pristine condition, never having been used!)

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 08:36:25 UTC | #613661

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 25 by debonnesnouvelles

The spirit of Neville Chamberlain lives on in Britain it seems. Now that's what I call Islamophobia -- fear of violent backlash by muslims. I daresay nobody would have cared had it been, say, The Book of Mormon, the Bible, Dianetics, The Torah or, say, an American Flag. Shameful.

I have seen footage of the flag burnings by muslims in the recent BBC documentary "My brother the islamist". Of course that makes me wonder about the double standard. Why would the society condemn the one but protect the other? It seems like an unjust moral judgement that is based in fear of consequences to one's own population.

You seem to think that the burning of other religious symbols would not raise many eyebrows.

Yet burning of symbols is becoming a bit of a trend, so that leads me to wonder, being half german and living in Berlin, how a burning of a Torah, let's say on the pavement in front of a jewish memorial, would go down here?

Surely you can not argue that the Police would arrest the burner because of fear of jewish retaliation in Germany. Yet I suspect the society here would not have any understanding or patience with this kind of activity. Does that seem strange to you?

If so, can you give me any good reasons for that? This is a real question. I am myself torn between the assumption that the burning of symbols is meaningless and should therefore not be illegal and ignored as much as possible. On the other hand, I would not want to see anyone burn jewish symbols where I live, it would make me feel very bad. So what's the way out of this impasse?

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 08:39:26 UTC | #613662

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 26 by Peter Grant

Comment 25 by debonnesnouvelles

Surely you can not argue that the Police would arrest the burner because of fear of jewish retaliation in the Germany. Yet I suspect the society here would not have any understanding or patience with this kind of activity. Does that seem strange to you?

To me, not at all. I'm guessing the burner would have more to fear from his fellow non-Jewish Germans. As you point out, Germany has a history of violence against Jews. Laws prohibiting such Nazi demonstrations are therefore entirely justified, whether they involve the burning of symbols or not.

If a young secular Jew burnt the Torah to demonstrate his rebellion against religious doctrine would you want him jailed?

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 09:17:13 UTC | #613665

Vogon42's Avatar Comment 27 by Vogon42

He seems to have a somewhat romanticised view of the Egyptian revolution. I'm not sure that burning down the ruling party headquarters amounts to ensuring that nothing got damaged.

I cannot see what rational link he makes between Bush's wars, designed to overthrow governments by force and impose different ones that have US approval, and civil uprising against a tyrant. Isn't the model more likely to go back to the fall of Marcos, or the Berlin Wall, or Milosevic, where a popular internal protest overthrew a tyrant, rather than an external power deciding to replace a tyrant with a puppet regime?

As for the rest - well the pastor's a deranged religious nutter, the mob is made of deranged religious nutters, Karzai's a calculating, self-obsessed, Machiavellian who is malevolent when it suits him, and religion is once more the cause of hatred and violence. But didn't we all know that already?

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 09:27:55 UTC | #613670

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 28 by justinesaracen

Debonnesnouvelles, you have a good point. I suppose in a 'realpolitik' sense, if you desecrate a symbol that is deeply meaningful to another group, you do so at your peril - or at other people's peril. It DOES amount to incitement. I like to think of myself as enlightened enough to not place value on mere symbols, so that a flag burning for example leaves me unmoved either way. But to say it is justified to destroy symbols because they are ultimately meaningless is a dangerous position because such actions act as triggers, and a wise person must know when and where to pull such a trigger.

Your question about burning a Torah in Germany is well-asked. That trigger would bring down the fury not only of the world's Jews, but of most people who have any sensitivity to the memory of the genocide. Therefore, although a Torah is full of just as much crap and nonsense as the bible and the koran, I would never support destroying one. And likewise, given the anger all over the Arab world at the US invasion of several Arab countries, and position the US habitually takes vis a vis Israel, I would never countenance the burning of a koran either.

Calling it nonsense, on the other hand, is just fine with me.

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 09:35:09 UTC | #613673

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 29 by debonnesnouvelles

Comment 26 by Peter Grant :

...

If a young secular Jew burnt the Torah to demonstrate his rebellion against religious doctrine would you want him jailed?

What a good question to which I do not have a satisfying answer. Considering the growing muslim community in Berlin, I must counter with this question, thereby furthering the moral dilemma of the contemporary german European:

If a young muslim burnt the Torah in front of the jewish memorial in Berlin, would I want him jailed?

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 09:53:41 UTC | #613677

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 30 by Stevezar

Comment 15 by El Bastardo :

I have to disagree with you there Steve. I don't think he cheer-led the installation of the puppet regimes, more so supporting the overthrow of the dictators in place. The fact that the replacements weren't exactly what we would desire doesn't mean that getting rid of Saddam and the Taliban were bad ideas.

So are they puppet regimes, or "not exactly what we would desire"?

The ambiguity is nice, I suppose. We can accuse the U.S. of installing puppets, while in the same breath, cackle at how nothing was made any better! Just remember that it is always America's fault.

Sun, 10 Apr 2011 10:06:18 UTC | #613679