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Go to: Dear Angry Lunatic: a response to Chris Hedges

Maximus222's Avatar Jump to comment 80 by Maximus222

Keyfeatures.

"What is the evidence that any muslim leader would use a nuclear weapon as a first strike? Muslim leaders such as Khamenei have repeatedly stressed that nuclear weapons use is "unIslamic". Khamenei is nothing if not consistent, domestic policy will attest to that. Further, if we need an example of a country that has used a WMD against a country known to not even possess such weapons we need look no further than USA (Hiroshima / Nagasaki)."

Firstly I think we don't have much of a precedent for a fundamentalist regime that is nuclear powered. Far from scare mongering, we have reason to worry given the rhetoric of some of these regimes (at least members of them) when set against that possiblity. Iran's official position on Israel, while probably not representative of the average Iranian, makes me a little nervous about the them getting a nuclear weapon. In Pakistan, a high ranking general (whose name escapes me at present) displayed quite a cavalier attitude toward nuclear annihilation. "You have to die sometime, you can die crossing the road, or you can die in a nuclear war." Seems like a cause for concern. You also have to consider situations in which non-state actors acquire such devices, which is where I think the real danger lies. Here the thinly rational doctrine of mutually assured destruction breaks down a bit don't you think and could lead to a situation described by Sam in the much abused passage. Far from scare mongering Harris' concerns are not utterly unreasonable. So the evidence that we have that we should at least think about such concerns (the sentiments and attitudes of Islamic regimes) probably shouldn't be blown off.

Secondly, Harris isn't advocating a course of action in the relevant passage. He is gaming an unwanted scenario and drawing the conclusion that rational Muslims have to move the discourse forward in their countries. He is suggesting, at least mildly that they begin their own enlightenment.

Thirdly your citing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem like spurious distractions at least as you have presented them here.

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 14:07:33 UTC | #855567

Go to: Interpreting Deuteronomy - with sophisticated theology

Maximus222's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Maximus222

Cartomancer, Perhaps we could all essay a few of these "different levels" analyses of the bible, and have a contest for the best 10 or 15 submissions. We could then send the selected papers to this Markham character? Let the RDF give the selections a prize (a mug say, or tee shirt) and if any of the analyses is selected as-at least plausible- by Markham and the standards of sophistric, I mean sophisticated theology-those people would get autographed copies of Richard's new book. Its not exactly a Sokal Hoax, but even still it might good for a laugh.

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 00:35:45 UTC | #855422

Go to: Dear Angry Lunatic: a response to Chris Hedges

Maximus222's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by Maximus222

It is sad that this will not be more widely read at Truthdig or by people who want to make the same connection between Gnu Atheism, the Christian Right, the Tea Party types and folks like this murderous psychopath in Norway. I think this bit manages to do what James Randi (with the help of Johnny Carson) did to Peter Poppoff in the 80s. What I mean to say is Sam has, in a very short, and deliciously brutal way, removed any vestige integrity this mendacious prick had. It would be nice if more people read it, if only so we would all hear a bit less about Hedges and his canards.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 01:12:14 UTC | #854891

Go to: Texas Gov. Rick Perry's misguided day of prayer

Maximus222's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by Maximus222

What a succinct and well stated bit of criticism. Thanks to Lawrence. He often prefers to play nice, but even the stupidity of Rick Perry, has placed limits on his patience. It isn't quite a Hitchslap, but it comes close.

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 01:07:47 UTC | #854492

Go to: Treadmill shows medieval armour influenced battles

Maximus222's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Maximus222

Liq, I think studies like this can add quite a bit to our understanding of history. Perhaps no in this case, but her in the states and other places various approaches to forensic history I guess you would call it, have actually helped historians better understand the particulars of past battles. This kind of study certainly helps us better understand how much it cost to travel in to a battle in heavy armor, and how much it cost to fight in it. I think it adds somewhat to the detailed knowledge of history and that nuance is certainly worth having don't you think? Understanding like this can lead to potentially new questions about armor and its usage. If the physiological costs were so high why was it used? Perhaps historians can go back and look at various battles and this new insight could pave the way to others. Its strange to me, how the outcome of a fracas can hinge on minute details.

Possible tangent..... But consider the following oddity:

Who has the better odds in the following combat scenario: one person has a knife and the other person has a pistol? Both have their weapons holstered. Many people might be tempted to give a fairly common sense and dismissive answer: Guns>knives duh?! Do we need anyone at Oxford, or even to tell us this? However the actual answer depends largely on the distance between the princples. 0-6 ft seems to be the area where any engagement favors the person with the knife. It is easier, and faster to deploy, and can get to work as quickly as it is removed from its sheath, or point of concealment. A pistol or revolver will have to be unholstered (if this isn't a tactical holster this will add time), the safety must be clicked off, you must then sight, aquire and fire. There is plenty of training video on youtube depicting law enforcement personel (men and women trained to quickly unholster their pistols) who failed to unholster their weapons before being set upon by an aggressor from up to 20 feet away. Below 20 feet it is often advised that if you haven't already unholstered your weapon you forget it, and deal with the person coming at you armed with the knife (that is to say deal with the knife first before you bring out your own weapon). That may seem like a bit of a tangent, but I hope it illustrates how common sense (Don't bring a knife to a gunfight) is often befuddled by the facts on the ground (Don't bring a gun to a knife fight, if 1. It isn't already unholstered and live, 2. If the distances are <20 ft and if your have your gun holstered, and safed.) My point is that understanding is often aided by minutae such as that described in this study. Anyway just a thought.

EDIT: Here is an old training video of what I am about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9igSoJHEdUo

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 19:44:01 UTC | #851902

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