Quantcast

«

»

Nov 06 2012

Inshallah

A 15 year old girl has been murdered in Pakistan.

By having acid poured on her face.

By her parents.

The girl’s parents, Mohammad Zafar and his wife Zaheen, recounted the Oct. 29 incident from jail. The father said the girl had turned to look at a boy who drove by on a motorcycle, and he told her it was wrong.

“She said ‘I didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t look again.’ By then I had already thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way,” the girl’s mother told the British broadcaster.

There is no crime so great that I could imagine doing something so horrific to any of my kids. I can’t even imagine committing such a violent act on a stranger. And to do it for so trivial and natural an offense…

It’s true. Religion compels people to commit abominable and terrifying acts normally well out of bounds of the behavior of well adjusted, normal people.

And no, it wasn’t destiny. It was the work of two awful people who didn’t deserve their daughter.

277 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Brett McCoy

    Is it common for parents and husbands to just carry around jugs of acid in Pakistan? I hear about this kind of thing all of the time.

  2. 2
    TGAP Dad

    …And to do it for so trivial and natural an offense…

    I’m going to take issue with this statement, as it concedes that what she did was in fact an “offense”.

  3. 3
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    By then I had already thrown the acid

    Do these people carry acid with them at all times in case they need to horribly disfigure and/or kill female relatives at a moment’s notice?

  4. 4
    Chuck

    According to the article, in Pakistan “943 women were killed in the name of honour last year.” Apparently the men of Pakistan have no honor to lose?

  5. 5
    vaiyt

    It wasn’t the work of awful people. It was the work of an awful culture. That’s not an isolated incident. Religion and a tradition of female oppression conspire to make such things look “normal” to them.

  6. 6
    Dee Phlat

    Can’t blame them. They didn’t choose where they were born, who there influences were, how their brains would process ideas.

  7. 7
    Nick Gotts

    Can’t blame them. – deephlat

    Don’t be absurd.

  8. 8
    Prof. Bleen

    Do these people carry acid with them at all times in case they need to horribly disfigure and/or kill female relatives at a moment’s notice?

    Every house in Pakistan must have a big pool of fuming sulfuric acid, like Baron Harkonnen’s castle on Geidi Prime.

  9. 9
    sonofrojblake

    I’m going to take issue with this statement, as it concedes that what she did was in fact an “offense”.

    Given the apparent attitude here, maybe it’s just that she was too much of an antelope and not enough of a lioness.

    Can’t blame them.

    Wrong. Can blame them, do blame them, and blame every single one of the thousand other scumbag Pakistani parents who’ve done this to their children in the name of “their culture” in the last year.

  10. 10
    Amphiox

    Almost as bad is how they refused to take responsibility for their actions by blabbing about “destiny”.

  11. 11
    dianne

    “She said ‘I didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t look again.’ By then I had already thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way,” the girl’s mother told the British broadcaster.

    That sounds like someone who wanted to kill her daughter and was just waiting for the excuse to do so.

  12. 12
    Ing

    It wasn’t the work of awful people. It was the work of an awful culture. That’s not an isolated incident. Religion and a tradition of female oppression conspire to make such things look “normal” to them.

    Keep in mind anthrocentrism. There are many things OUR culture and religions do that are very similar when looked at objectively. American Christians kill their kids all the time as well through abuse, neglect, or banishment. The leading cause of homelessness in children is being banished due to bringing dishonor upon their family (i.e. being queer). We have movements in the US encouraging people to violently beat their children and Politicians promoting the idea of allowing peer torture and taking personal religious offense at the idea that such deep cultural practices are stopped.

    This isn’t excusing another culture at all, I just think it’s very important to remember that it’s easy to see the flaws in outsiders which makes them look bafflingly barbaric but our own flaws don’t stand out to us because they’re so common place and normal. outrage should be expanded not limited. Human brutality like this should be opposed on its own merits and we should be careful about slipping into ethnocentrism in our denouncement of it.

  13. 13
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Chuck

    Apparently the men of Pakistan have no honor to lose?

    This is about their “honor”. The woman or girl is just a possession, chattel, dishonoring them by doing…whatever. Learning, looking, living, you name it.

  14. 14
    Ing

    Can’t blame them. They didn’t choose where they were born, who there influences were, how their brains would process ideas.

    Incorrect. I do not hold to freewill but some form of blame, shame, education, etc are the only ways to debug other people’s minds. If we are meat machines than that is the mechanism for reprograming.

  15. 15
    mythbri

    Can’t blame them. They didn’t choose where they were born, who there influences were, how their brains would process ideas.

    Then nobody, anywhere, can ever be held accountable for their actions.

    Are you serious?

    This is what religion does. It gives people an excuse. It allows them to reject responsibility for their actions. It’s fucking toxic.

    If being an atheist should mean anything, it should mean this:

    TAKE SOME FUCKING RESPONSIBILITY.

  16. 16
    jamessweet

    Is it common for parents and husbands to just carry around jugs of acid in Pakistan?

    Some Googling shows you are not the first person to ask this question — but I haven’t really found a satisfactory answer. The best answer I found is that there are some “contradictions” in the parents’ story, so it’s quite possible they just went and got some acid, and this “I already threw it in her face” thing is made up.

  17. 17
    Ing

    Can’t blame them. They didn’t choose where they were born, who there influences were, how their brains would process ideas.</blockquote.

    Actually your argument would invalidate the idea of punitive justice/vengeance, not the concept of blame or any other forms of ethical response.

    If they can't be blamed because their minds are developed by their culture and parents telling them "do this, don't do that" than equally we have responsibility to provide contrasting voices and influences. Ifpeople are made entirely by those influences than it's even MORE important to hold some form of responsibility (or at least education/calculated moral shaming/outrage) because that means we CAN change the situation.

    If a computer malfunctions it's stupid of me not to try to fix it because it isn't at fault. Accepting your premise, people are the same way.

  18. 18
    Ing

    “I already threw it in her face” thing is made up.

    This is important. It shows moral dissonance. The culture itself is not uniform or clear on the concept. It says “do this” but something else is conflicting with it saying “this is wrong”. Whether it’s guilt or a desire to avoid punishment that is still an area of weakness in cultural programing that indicates such behavior and practices can be influenced and changed.

  19. 19
    jaranath

    I can’t get past “by then I had already thrown the acid”. I don’t think we’re getting the whole, or accurate, story. Either it didn’t quite happen that way (right at the moment), or they’d been planning to do this. The former doesn’t make it any better, the latter makes it even worse. “I just can’t WAIT to throw this acid in my daughter’s face!” I just… Yeah. No words.

  20. 20
    vaiyt

    @12:

    Agreed completely. I tried to add some qualifiers, to minimize the possibility that I could be interpreted as outgroup-bashing. It appears I wasn’t entirely sucessful.

  21. 21
    donny5

    @12- I think you are wrong on this. If you read this blog, PZ has often criticized his fellow Americans for such actions as you discribed. Throwing acid in someone’s face is wrong. Period. If this was done in Iowa it would be just as wrong and would be condemned. I find the fact that you are being an apologist for their brutal behavior is sad and pathetic. They can hide behind Mohammed all they want, they still are monsters. Just because other people do doesn’t excuse it.

  22. 22
    Chuck

    This is about their “honor”. The woman or girl is just a possession, chattel, dishonoring them by doing…whatever. Learning, looking, living, you name it.

    Then clearly they should kill themselves for raising such a terrible daughter.

  23. 23
    John Kruger

    Yeah, where the hell are these crazies getting all their acid from? Even if I was a religiously deranged psychopath, I have no idea where I would go to get acid strong enough to kill or disfigure someone with a single attack.

    The whole thing is just beyond fucked up.

  24. 24
    scottplumer

    Keep in mind anthrocentrism. There are many things OUR culture and religions do that are very similar when looked at objectively. American Christians kill their kids all the time as well through abuse, neglect, or banishment.

    Our culture is also barbaric. It is not ethnocentric to say that a culture that tacitly allows such behavior is barbaric. Pakistan seems to be the worst, unless it’s just that the stories of such behavior get out of Pakistan, and are suppressed elsewhere.

  25. 25
    Didaktylos

    They knew it was wrong – otherwise they wouldn’t need to claim justification.

  26. 26
    Ing

    I think you are wrong on this. If you read this blog, PZ has often criticized his fellow Americans for such actions as you discribed. Throwing acid in someone’s face is wrong. Period. If this was done in Iowa it would be just as wrong and would be condemned. I find the fact that you are being an apologist for their brutal behavior is sad and pathetic. They can hide behind Mohammed all they want, they still are monsters. Just because other people do doesn’t excuse it.

    You need to reread my comment and see what I’m saying.

    The fact remains that this IS done in Iowa, but isn’t seen by us as an example of the barbarism of our dominate culture and religion. We dismiss it as a nutter. Which was the point, people asking how a culture can allow this/promote this. The point is they are not monsters, they are humans. It is better to keep the perspective rather than othering them and dehumanizing them into outsiders/monsters.

  27. 27
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    (Trigger warning for rape analogy)

    Can’t blame them. They didn’t choose where they were born, who there influences were, how their brains would process ideas.

    Oh, we can’t blame them for murdering their daughter in cold blood, because of society and culture?

    Well then. I guess you can’t blame me for raping your daughter. I was just robbing your house and she was there naked in her bed and I did what society told me home invaders are supposed to do to women who are stupid enough to be naked in their own houses when someone comes along to rob it.

    Can’t blame me for robbing your house, either. I was just doing what society told me I was supposed to do to support my drug habit.

    Oh, and you also can’t blame me for having a drug habit. I was just doing what music videos and rap songs told me I was supposed to do to be a rock star.

    Of course, you can’t blame me for wanting to be a rock star. Society and culture reveres them more than anything, and it’s in my nature as an ape-descended mammal to seek the approval of other ape-descended mammals in any way I can.

    None of it’s my fault! So don’t you dare come after me for child support to help raise this ‘gift from god’ your daughter is stuck with!

    Rapists gonna rape, robbers gonna rob, druggies gonna shoot up, and rock stars gonna do what they want. Just like child-murderers gonna keep a fresh supply of acid on hand. Just. In. Case. What can you do? That’s life.

  28. 28
    Ing

    Pakistan seems to be the worst, unless it’s just that the stories of such behavior get out of Pakistan, and are suppressed elsewhere.

    When was the last time you heard a news story about a gay kid being made homeless by their parents? Or a child tied down for an exorcism? denied medical treatment? Beaten to death for not praying at dinner? Beaten for disobeying parents? Was that reported as a story of American barbarism?

    We individualize the barbarism within our own culture and see that of other cultures as collective phenomena. we need to both see our own actions as more collective and recognize other’s as also being individual.

  29. 29
    Utakata

    Can’t blame them. They didn’t choose where they were born, who there influences were, how their brains would process ideas.

    Looks like someone is smoking the same whacky crap that Sam Harris smokes. Just saying.

  30. 30
    octoberfurst

    What a couple of sadistic dirtbags! Religious fanatics who murder their own daughter for the “crime” of looking at a boy. Oh the horror! Oh the shame on the family!
    I can’t believe this was not premeditated. The daughter looks at a boy in passing and mom immediately throws acid on her face? WTF? Who does crap like this? And as others have said, why was mom carrying acid in the first place? I have no doubt they wanted to kill her and were looking for an excuse. I hope they rot in prison for the rest of their lives. But since it is Pakistan they will probably get off with a fine.

  31. 31
    Nick Gotts

    Given the apparent attitude here, maybe it’s just that she was too much of an antelope and not enough of a lioness. – sonofrojblake

    What “apparent attitude” is that?

  32. 32
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I’d love to say this isn’t true, but whenever I read stories like this I immediately think eye for an eye. You murder your daughter by throwing acid on her for doing absolutely nothing wrong, that’s the way you should die too.

    Yeah, yeah, I know exactly what’s wrong with that sort of thinking. Doesn’t stop the thoughts from coming though.

  33. 33
    Dhorvath, OM

    Thank you Ing. Words well worth reading.

  34. 34
    Ing

    Let me give a better explanation for my first post.

    Things like that DO happen here. It’s important to step back and look at it objectively removing our cultural bias because such actions are bad no matter where they happen. A parent brutalizing or killing their child is not a good thing regardless if they do it via banishment, pvc pipe, disease or acid. We should remember and consider what our own culture does because it’s the one we are most able and likely to change.

  35. 35
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    A lot of people are asking where they get the acid. Usually in these cases, it is either sulfuric acid, which can be bought to refill batteries, or hydrochloric, used to clean some metals. Either can be bought in quantity in stores. The US and some other countries are unusual in that these acids cannot be freely bought. Manufacturing them is also not terribly complicated.

  36. 36
    Anthony K

    Thank you Ing. Words well worth reading.

    I also think Ing made the point well.

  37. 37
    Nick Gotts

    They knew it was wrong – otherwise they wouldn’t need to claim justification. – Didaktylos

    A good point. It is generally the interaction between features of a culture and of individuals that produces barbarities such as this – the former being used to justify the evil that the individuals, for whatever twisted motive, want to do.

  38. 38
    Ing

    Also for reference I didn’t SAY PZ was ethnocentric or othering a culture. You’ll note he made no mention of Islam or causative behavior, just that such behavior is unacceptable. I was just expanding on that because I know it’s human nature to see something like that and think “those wacky foreigners”

  39. 39
    Anthony K

    The US and some other countries are unusual in that these acids cannot be freely bought.

    I may be wrong, but I understand the acids are used in processes to produce products that most of us in North America and Europe buy already made.

  40. 40
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Also, stop that noise about “Pakistan is more barbaric than the US.” It isn’t.

    Ask about LGBT kids tossed out by their American parents. Or girls who disobey. Or exorcisms. Or kids being sent to reeducation camps where they are abused night and day (and don’t think that this doesn’t happen).

  41. 41
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I may be wrong, but I understand the acids are used in processes to produce products that most of us in North America and Europe buy already made.

    If you buy batteries (of just about every type), yes. Also some electronics.

  42. 42
    md

    12 posts before the subject was changed to American Christians. You’re getting slow, Ing. Usually you’re on the ball within the first 3-4. Too many irons in the fire poll watching for the U.N. today?

    Just a couple weeks back, in Afghanistan, a girl was beheaded, by her mother in law and others, for refusing to go into Prostitution. This stuff is rampant in America I tell you.

  43. 43
    Anthony K

    I was just expanding on that because I know it’s human nature to see something like that and think “those wacky foreigners”

    I know the feeling. I’m reading about the election day hijinks going on in the US.

    Some people just aren’t ready for democracy.

  44. 44
    A. R

    HULK SMASH!!!!!!

  45. 45
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    md, it is more rampant than you know. Americans don’t tend to go for beheadings or acid-dousing – they’re more prone to use guns or other techniques.

  46. 46
    Ing

    Just a couple weeks back, in Afghanistan, a girl was beheaded, by her mother in law and others, for refusing to go into Prostitution. This stuff is rampant in America I tell you.

    Yes in fact it is.

    12 posts before the subject was changed to American Christians. You’re getting slow, Ing. Usually you’re on the ball within the first 3-4. Too many irons in the fire poll watching for the U.N. today?

    Giving fuller context is never changing the subject. What goes around around is is normal every day stuff, we filter it out because it is our back yard and we know our own culture in all it’s variations and tones. A story like this is often the ONLY view we have into another country.

    Also you’re a loon. Pole watching for the UN?

  47. 47
    Anthony K

    This stuff is rampant in America I tell you.

    Yes, it’s not exactly the same.

    GREAT FUCKING POINT AS USUAL, MD.

    What a useless asshole.

  48. 48
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Too many irons in the fire poll watching for the U.N. today?

    you say that like it’s unimportant

  49. 49
    Ing

    And it is quite laughable to say that violence to coerce people into sex work doesn’t happen often in the US. So thank you for making my point. You don’t see the forest because you’re surrounded by trees; which is NORMAL that’s why I wanted to just remind everyone to pull back a bit. It is harmful to get culturally arrogant and superior.

    Does anyone who knows me actually doubt that I’m not going to be the first one who knee jerks into frothing rage? I do that at every be-fucking-little thing. I’m saying outrage should be expanded not contracted. WE should be angrier damn it! I also think efforts of change will be more effective if they are universalized rather than imperalistic. “Fix Pakistan’s shit hole problems” is probably going to be less helpful then “End Worldwide Sexism”

  50. 50
    Utakata

    12 posts before the subject was changed to American Christians. You’re getting slow, Ing. Usually you’re on the ball within the first 3-4. Too many irons in the fire poll watching for the U.N. today?

    Read: I don’t like the direction this thread is going. So allow me to get it back on track by further derailing it.

  51. 51
    DaveL

    This is important. It shows moral dissonance. The culture itself is not uniform or clear on the concept. It says “do this” but something else is conflicting with it saying “this is wrong”.

    I agree, and “I had already threw the acid” isn’t the only indicator of it here. The phrase “It was her destiny to die this way” is clearly an attempt on the part of the mother to minimize her role by using the passive voice (“to die this way” rather than “for me to kill her”) and invoking an impersonal, implacable “destiny” rather than admit her own agency.

    She knows what she did is wrong, and now she’s mustering all the cognitive obfuscation religion and culture have to offer in order to rationalize it away.

  52. 52
    laurentweppe

    Is it common for parents and husbands to just carry around jugs of acid in Pakistan? I hear about this kind of thing all of the time.

    I strongly suspect that what is really current is for people who commit premeditated murders to retreat behind religion in order to weaken the punishment.

    It also works in secular countries, by the way: I’ve lost count of how often what was presented at first as an “honor killing” (the poor darling could not help it, his religion compelled him to kill his beloved wife/daughter/mother/sister/relative/so forth) turns out to be a domestic tyrant killing someone who had the gall to stand up to him, then once caught making the cold-blooded calculus that a judge and jury thinking “insane bigot” would led to a lighter sentence than “sociopathic killer”

  53. 53
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    This is the conversation we’re destined to have now, forever, isn’t it? What’s the point? What’s the goal for anyone here?

    1. Parents throw acid—acid—in the face of their daughter and kill her.

    2. Someone jumps in and talks about how barbarous Pakistan is. There is a heightened barbarity in that culture, but one suspects the interlocutor might be using that for a bigoted agenda.

    3. But, those who want no part of that bigotry quickly make equivalences between acid-throwing and LGBT kids being thrown out of their house. Um, no. Don’t. Even. That’s so obviously outrageous I’m shocked to see you write it. What is the purpose of this? What is the goal?

    [At this point, the conversation obliges me to demur and say, "Of course children are abused in America. LGBT kids are brutalized, people die in exorcisms, and some states allow parents to kill their children through medical neglect." And I resent having to say this because of the implication that anyone here DIDN'T KNOW THAT AND FIND IT APALLING.]

    Getting thrown from your house is horrible. I know this from intimate experience. But it is NOT getting acid thrown in your face for looking at a boy. Jesus.

    If you want to make comparisons then talk about parents who beat their children to death for being gay. That’s a real comparison. But I’d have to ask again—what is the goal? Do you really believe anyone here doesn’t agree that that is utterly horrific? How much declaring of how utterly horrific it is is required before one is allowed to express shock and horror at the singularly cruel and remarkable cultural practice of maiming and murdering girls with acid?

    Bigots—do not try to take comfort in what I’m saying. If you’re an asshole and a cultural imperialist I’m not on your side.

    But I’m increasingly frustrated with people here (who are my friends, and whom I respect) that are—I’m sorry, I don’t mean to insult, but it does seem this way to me—losing some perspective. There’s a fine line, sometimes, between awareness of ethnocentrism and slippage into relativism.

  54. 54
    Ing

    @Josh

    You’re focused in too much on one thing I said and ignoring that i was listing a myriad methods of abuse our culture has.

    It’s not relativism as I’ve explained.

    If you want to make comparisons then talk about parents who beat their children to death for being gay. That’s a real comparison. But I’d have to ask again—what is the goal? Do you really believe anyone here doesn’t agree that that is utterly horrific? How much declaring of how utterly horrific it is is required before one is allowed to express shock and horror at the singularly cruel and remarkable cultural practice of maiming and murdering girls with acid?

    I said what the goal was.

  55. 55
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Or, more accurately and shorter, tu quoque is not an answer to “Oh, my god—they actually threw acid in their daughter’s face.”

  56. 56
    Anthony K

    This is the conversation we’re destined to have now, forever, isn’t it? What’s the point? What’s the goal for anyone here?

    Yes, primarily because of this:

    There’s a fine line, sometimes, between awareness of ethnocentrism and slippage into relativism.

    No. There is a spectrum between ethnocentrism and relativism, and believe you me, there is no danger of lapsing into relativism. Most people, skeptics included, are such firm ethocentrists that they have no fucking idea of what it would be to view the world through the eyes of someone who isn’t them.

  57. 57
    cicely

    “Mom” already had the acid in hand, and deployed during the space of that short an interchange? Sounds a lot like premeditation, to me.
    -

    Can’t blame them. They didn’t choose where they were born, who there influences were, how their brains would process ideas.

    The “but everybody else is doing it!” excuse? Srsly??? Not much better if you label it as the “I was only following orders!” excuse.
    -

  58. 58
    Ing

    Josh I encourage you to reread what I wrote because you’re missing important context.

  59. 59
    Anthony K

    Or, more accurately and shorter, tu quoque is not an answer to “Oh, my god—they actually threw acid in their daughter’s face.”

    So what is?

    What exactly is the point of these stories? What do they tell us? What are they meant to invoke?

  60. 60
    Anthony K

    The “but everybody else is doing it!” excuse? Srsly??? Not much better if you label it as the “I was only following orders!” excuse.

    And this is where the dualism we pretend not to believe in pokes its head out.

    Of course these people should set aside their silly little cultures (what’s culture besides food and clothes, anyway) and tap into the universal morality that we all have floating somewhere three inches behind our third eye.

  61. 61
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    So what is?

    What exactly is the point of these stories? What do they tell us? What are they meant to invoke?

    I do not mean this with snark, seriously. But you’d have to ask PZ. I don’t know his mind and it’s not my concern at the moment.

  62. 62
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Josh I encourage you to reread what I wrote because you’re missing important context.

    I’ll do so later, Ing. Admittedly I didn’t name names so as not to offend (which was cowardly) but that merely makes everyone think I’m talking about them because I wasn’t specific. Suck and fail for that on my part.

  63. 63
    vaiyt

    2. Someone jumps in and talks about how barbarous Pakistan is. There is a heightened barbarity in that culture, but one suspects the interlocutor might be using that for a bigoted agenda.

    I hope that one wasn’t me.

    I was trying to say exactly the opposite – the Pakistani aren’t monsters, they’re normal people led by a misogynistic culture and religion (things that exist just about everywhere) to act in monstrous ways.

  64. 64
    Anthony K

    I do not mean this with snark, seriously. But you’d have to ask PZ. I don’t know his mind and it’s not my concern at the moment.

    Oh, come the fuck on. If that’s the case, then why are you telling people what’s an appropriate response?

    But of course, we know that’s not true. These stories, the bread and butter of facile gnu atheist thought, are meant to evoke feelings of repulsion in us, to cement the sense of the foreign Other, and then slap the label ‘religious’ on them.

    “See? See what those crazy, barbarically religious foreigners do?”

    But of course, if religion is the cause, then why aren’t the prayerful Yanks tossing acid at each other with aplomb?

  65. 65
    Ing

    @Josh

    Considering my comment was getting the bulk of attention it’s sort of obvious who you were talking to.

    Again I think my point is clear if you read when I answer what my point was.

  66. 66
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Oh, come the fuck on. If that’s the case, then why are you telling people what’s an appropriate response?

    What? I don’t understand the relationship between PZ’s intent and my reaction? Seriously–I don’t even know what you’re trying to get at. Are you saying that my reaction—either to the OP or the responses—is somehow valid or invalid based on what PZ may have meant to say?

    I honestly don’t understand.

  67. 67
    Ing

    @Josh

    If you have a specific question you have my twitter and e-mail I believe.

  68. 68
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    These stories, the bread and butter of facile gnu atheist thought, are meant to evoke feelings of repulsion in us, to cement the sense of the foreign Other, and then slap the label ‘religious’ on them.

    Then why don’t you fuck right over to PZ’s desk and take your goddamned fight to him?

    THIS is what I’m talking about. It’s impossible to even converse about this stuff without being used as a proxy for a complaint you have with someone else. That’s really fucking unfair Brownian.

    You’re not wrong about the huge blindness and privilege-protecting going on in gnu atheist circles (though I’m not conceding your characterization of PZ’s motivations—I’m not commenting on them at all). But you’re not the fucking hall monitor either and you don’t get to subsume everyone else under your priority complaint.

  69. 69
    Anthony K

    What? I don’t understand the relationship between PZ’s intent and my reaction? Seriously–I don’t even know what you’re trying to get at. Are you saying that my reaction—either to the OP or the responses—is somehow valid or invalid based on what PZ may have meant to say?

    Look, you were the one who brought in PZ’s intent after you told people what was an invalid reaction.

    I’m trying to ascertain just what the fucking point of these stories are.

    There seems to be some belief that there’s a perfect centrist midpoint between ethnocentrism (bad!) and cultural relativism (bad!) and that the appropriate perspective of “well adjusted, normal people” (whatever the fuck those are supposed to embody), is something that we’re supposed to have.

    Well, I want to know what it is. And if it’s more than mere revulsion at real-life instances of torture porn, I’d like to hear exactly how religion is supposed to tie in here in any meaningful way.

  70. 70
    mythbri

    Esteleth at #35 mentioned that many of these attacks involve Sulfuric Acid or Hydrochloric Acid.

    Both are chemicals that are used in my workplace.

    I know this just off the top of my head:

    Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) in a concentration of 40% or more will cause redness and serious burns on the skin in a matter of seconds, with severe ulceration in 1-2 minutes. A mere 1-20% concentration will slightly delay ulceration – about 5-15 minutes. But untreated, the effects are the same.

    Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4) in a concentration of 40% or more will cause rapid burns, ulceration and eventually tissue necrosis, within a matter of minutes. As with HCl, 1-20% concentrations only slightly delay the effects. Long-term chronic exposure to Sulfuric Acid fumes may cause cancer.

    Needless to say, burns from either type are excrutiatingly painful. I can’t imagine dying that way.

    I suspect, however, that attempting to regulate the sale or manufacture of these acids in Pakistan and other countries would be met with a similar kind of outcry that we get here in the States when we talk about gun control.

  71. 71
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I’d like to hear exactly how religion is supposed to tie in here in any meaningful way.

    And I’d like to be able to comment without being fit into your it’s-just-an-excuse-to-blame-religion slot. I haven’t even obliquely commented on whether I think religion, culture, or some blend of the two is responsible for shit like this. Why the bleeding hell are you expecting me to dance to your narrative and answer your questions?

  72. 72
    Anthony K

    Then why don’t you fuck right over to PZ’s desk and take your goddamned fight to him?

    What the fuck? This blog is where that kind of thing happens.

    THIS is what I’m talking about. It’s impossible to even converse about this stuff without being used as a proxy for a complaint you have with someone else. That’s really fucking unfair Brownian.

    Oh, that’s a load of shit.

    You were the one that criticised the scope and terms of the discussion, one that I was already taking part in, in 53. You were the one who had issues with the way other commenters were handling the discussion.

    You were the one who said “Or, more accurately and shorter, tu quoque is not an answer to ‘Oh, my god—they actually threw acid in their daughter’s face.’” You wrote that. Not PZ.

    When I asked you what the appropriate response is, you deflected to ‘PZ’s intent.’

    And now you’re shitting on me? For asking you a question you yourself intimated you had some answer to?

    Fuck that noise.

  73. 73
    leahr

    Also, stop that noise about “Pakistan is more barbaric than the US.” It isn’t.

    Ask about LGBT kids tossed out by their American parents. Or girls who disobey. Or exorcisms. Or kids being sent to reeducation camps where they are abused night and day (and don’t think that this doesn’t happen).

    You cannot be serious.

    LGBT kids get abused and murdered in Pakistan, too. Along with the kids who get abused and murdered just because they have two X chromosomes and look at someone with a Y. Systematically. At a vastly higher proportion than happens anywhere in the US.

    Everyone saying “America is barbaric too!” is an apologist for this shit. It’s disgusting.

  74. 74
    Anthony K

    And I’d like to be able to comment without being fit into your it’s-just-an-excuse-to-blame-religion slot.

    BUT THAT’S THE GODDAMN O-FUCKING-P!

    Why the bleeding hell are you expecting me to dance to your narrative and answer your questions?

    Then don’t.

    Since you wrote this:” Or, more accurately and shorter, tu quoque is not an answer to ‘Oh, my god—they actually threw acid in their daughter’s face.’”

    Why don’t you answer the question I posed to you in 59?

  75. 75
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    For the love of Pete—Brownian, I did not intimate I knew PZ’s intent. If I said something that implied that I didn’t mean to. I don’t even know what I said that makes it seem that way (really, honestly).

    My complaint—it’s important you understand what I am and am not saying—is that youappear to be focused on what you believe PZ’s intent is. Why do I think this? Because you wrote this:

    These stories, the bread and butter of facile gnu atheist thought, are meant to evoke feelings of repulsion in us, to cement the sense of the foreign Other, and then slap the label ‘religious’ on them.

    Can you see why I read it that way? I really don’t think that’s bizarre or uncharitable of me. Honestly.

  76. 76
    Anthony K

    It’s disgusting.

    There. That’s the response we’re supposed to have.

    Like I don’t have any fucking clue exactly where this narrative always leads.

  77. 77
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    You ask me why I didn’t answer this question:

    What exactly is the point of these stories? What do they tell us? What are they meant to invoke?

    I’m extremely frustrated because I think what I’m saying is clear and I don’t know how to be any more clear.

    How can I answer a question about “the point of these stories” when “the point of these stories” means “Why did PZ post this?” How is that a question I can answer? It’s. . . help me because I’m genuinely baffled.

  78. 78
    Anthony K

    For the love of Pete—Brownian, I did not intimate I knew PZ’s intent. If I said something that implied that I didn’t mean to. I don’t even know what I said that makes it seem that way (really, honestly).

    My complaint—it’s important you understand what I am and am not saying—is that youappear to be focused on what you believe PZ’s intent is. Why do I think this? Because you wrote this:

    These stories, the bread and butter of facile gnu atheist thought, are meant to evoke feelings of repulsion in us, to cement the sense of the foreign Other, and then slap the label ‘religious’ on them.

    Which I wrote after you told everyone what wasn’t an appropriate response, and then deflected when I asked you what was.

    So, you know what isn’t an appropriate response, but only PZ knows what is.

    That’s how I read our initial discussion on this thread. That’s where I’m coming from. My apologies if that was a misreading.

  79. 79
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I think Ing was making good points in this thread.

  80. 80
    Anthony K

    You ask me why I didn’t answer this question:

    No, Josh, I wanted you to answer “So what is?”

    The rest of that comment was more generally addressed, but I totally see why you were confused.

    That’s my fault.

    But I don’t think it’s off limits to consider what these stories mean to us, irrespective of PZ’s intent. That’s what stories do, and how they work.

  81. 81
    Anthony K

    So, I’m sorry for my lack of clarity, Josh.

  82. 82
    Anthony K

    On this topic:

    How can I answer a question about “the point of these stories” when “the point of these stories” means “Why did PZ post this?” How is that a question I can answer? It’s. . . help me because I’m genuinely baffled.

    You can answer it by observing what it invokes in you, and whether it’s likely meant to invoke that in you, and how effectively does it do that?

    How do we assess those issues in any narrative? For instance, how do we assess GOP ‘dogwhistles’, which are also meant to evoke a reaction and then provide a simple target for that reaction?

  83. 83
    Nick Gotts

    Everyone saying “America is barbaric too!” is an apologist for this shit. It’s disgusting – leahr

    Everyone saying “Everyone saying “America is barbaric too!” is an apologist for this shit. It’s disgusting.” is an apologist for the religious right in America. It’s disgusting.

  84. 84
    grumpypathdoc

    I have come to the (somewhat) reluctant conclusion that quarantine should extended to protecting us from not only infectious disease but from potentially infectious ideas. Laurie Anderson expressed it well-”Language is a Virus”, especially in the isolated context that exists in the Middle East (and yes including Israel). Many people do not have appropriate filters in their minds to appropriately channel and analyze what ever is fed to them as psychosocial pablum. It probably starts as soon a child gathers an understanding their parents words, but later influences still can have repercussions.

    By the way, has anyone discovered a sequence for the gene that promotes “open mindedness”? Infect everyone with that and problem solved.

  85. 85
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I’m angry enough to break dishes but I’m really, really, really, really trying.

    1. I do not know PZ’s intent in posting the story. I do not care (within the context of this here, right here right now conversation) to focus on it.

    2. Regardless—regardless of whether PZ’s intent was to do X,Y,or Z, (again—regardless) I am disturbed by the almost instant “but these bad things happen too here in America” responses.

    3. Why am I disturbed by that?

    -Not because I don’t acknowledge that horribleness happens here too

    -Not because I have an interest in othering people in Pakistan (you’ll just have to take it on good faith that I don’t. If my record doesn’t give that much cred there’s nothing I can say to persuade anyone).

    I’m disturbed by that because it seems to me that it’s no longer possible, even for people who’ve demonstrated they fight the same fights you (not just you, Brownian) do, to escape unfair censure. It appears to me that one (or I, if you like) am discursively obliged to treat the possibility of commenters using such posts as excuses for ethnocentric blindness as the important issue that must first be dispensed with. It appears (I keep qualifying this because I’m trying to be charitable and fair) to me to be a requirement to address this first and foremost, and to do so publicly and quickly enough if one wants to have the moral authority to say “that’s awful.”Even then it doesn’t really work; one is still suspect.

    I think I know how this happens: We’ve been treated to a slimy fuckfest of rotting privilege in gnu atheism that wasn’t apparent to us a few years ago. We’ve had to fight back.

    But I also think it’s reasonable for a person (me, if you like) to get frustrated and resentful to be caught up in that as if he had never demonstrated any awareness of intersectional privilege before and has a track record just as suspect as the most unreconstructed idiot who shows up in every thread.

    The mere mentioning of these incidents is not ipso facto bigotry. Expressing shock at them is not either. Yes, it often is used as a vehicle and an excuse for that. I know! But I’m pissed—and when less agitated, sad and regretful—at the foreclosure of any conversational possibilities that don’t include the assumption of furthering ethnocentric aims.

    Shorter me: it feels like being back in college and confronting the world through an anthropological lens for the first time. Then watching the class and groups of friends turn on each other for not being aware enough. No one could demonstrate enough privilege awareness. So there emerged a tacit consensus that no one say anything (except in the most heavily qualified way) about horrible things that happened outside their own borders. No wiggle room at all. Everyone given the same level of scrutiny and moral skepticism for motivations.

    And, yes, some of this is undoubtedly My Own Personal stuff, and for the degree to which it is, I apologize for projecting. Some of it is also personal to you, Brownian, in sofaras I’ve been sorely disappointed in how far you’ve seemed willing to go with it. You have no obligation to me or anyone else, obviously. I’m not saying I have a right to expect anything of you, I’m merely explaining. You’ve always been one of my favorite commenters—someone I really like and admire. It. . .stings? irks? . . .more when you seem to go so far in the wrong direction on this.

  86. 86
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    And in all that tldr; I neglected to say: I have no illusions that my intent is magic, or that I’m not capable of being a self-absorbed privilege wanker. I am so capable. I’m not asking for dispensations for past good behavior when I fuck up; I hope that’s clear.

  87. 87
    keresthanatos...I am my Evil Twin

    Human=Monster

  88. 88
    md

    Ing,

    yes in fact is

    can you produce for me two stories from the last month of women being murdered by their American Christian (your qualifying description) parents by the methods of, but, because I dont want to be accused of ethnocentrism, certainly not limited to, beheading or pouring-of-acid-on faces, for the ‘offenses’ of looking at members of the opposite sex or refusing to go into prostitution?

    Id like to hear about those. Well, I wouldn’t like it, but if its going on, I want to know.

  89. 89
    md

    Threadjack:

    If a person of the Islamic faith denounces American/Western culture because of its sexual permissiveness particularly regarding women, is this person guilty of ethnocentrism?

  90. 90
    skeptifem

    They knew it was wrong – otherwise they wouldn’t need to claim justification.

    either that or they know that other people think it is wrong and have made up an excuse, while feeling virtually nothing themselves. I wouldn’t discount the possibility that these specific people have a serious dysfunction while also living in a violent misogynist culture that enabled them. There is probably a mix of personal and social factors that lead to this kind of bullshit.

    what an awful way to die.

  91. 91
    Ben P

    There is no crime so great that I could imagine doing something so horrific to any of my kids.

    This is in no way equivalent, but honestly what I thought of was the mother in Colorado last month. A 17 year old abducted and killed the 10 year old girl next door, and was then turned in by his mother. At least one story I read tried to get a comment from the alleged Killer’s mother, and reported that she was too emotional to comment.

    The 17 year old won’t be eligible for the death penalty, but even then, it strikes me that even acknowledging that your child has done something horrific and turning them in has to be an incredibly difficult act.

    Voluntarily doing something even worse to your own children is almost unimaginable.

  92. 92
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    If a person of the Islamic faith denounces American/Western culture because of its sexual permissiveness particularly regarding women, is this person guilty of ethnocentrism?

    Don’t imagine for a second that you’re talking to a group of people who are too naive to discriminate among various levels of fuckbaggery depending on the context and position of relative power in which the fuckbags sit. Heated disagreements aside, the core of commenters here aren’t the moral idiots that question presumes.

  93. 93
    skeptifem

    md seems to be unaware of the quiverfull movement and the FLDS.

  94. 94
    skeptifem

    to add to 93- yeesh, dude isn’t aware of pimping, either!

  95. 95
    PZ Myers

    Man, I don’t know what it is. It’s like a natural human tendency to put things in hierarchies. Murdering a child is bad, and you could say that the abuses that go on in America are also bad, but maybe most of them (but not all of them) are not quite as bad. But so what?

    None of them are zero bad.

    Talking about particularly egregious abuses in another country is not intended to be a distraction from abuses in our own. We are capable of being outraged at multiple things at once, you know.

  96. 96
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I do not think that parents murdering/torturing their children happens at the same rate all over the world, but I do think that no country has a monopoly on not doing shit like that.

    My comments were intended to refute the notion that shit like that never happens here (or happens so rarely as to not be worth much mention), not to set up some sort of parity. And no, while I see the disinheritance of LGBT kids and the like as being part of the same spectrum of violence, it is of course not equivalent to murder.

  97. 97
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    can you produce for me two stories from the last month of women being murdered by their American Christian (your qualifying description) parents

    The first one that pops in my mind is the one, not last month, but not so long ago of parents who beat one of their adoptive daughters to death and seriously injured the other using “biblical child rearing”.

    The girl died not of a single punch or kick, but of terminal kidney malfunction because of extensive bruises after being beaten using a method recommended in a xian-child-rearing book highly valued by your very own talibornagain.

    She was litteraly tenderized.

    Religion, whatever the flavor, is poison.

  98. 98
    skeptifem

    And no, while I see the disinheritance of LGBT kids and the like as being part of the same spectrum of violence, it is of course not equivalent to murder.

    I don’t understand the focus on LGBT kids in this thread when there are christian patriarchy movements that have known murders of “uppity” women in america, like the murders chronicled in Under The Banner of Heaven. These seem more directly comparable to what happened in the OP. Domestic violence is a huge problem that many religious congregations sweep under the rug here, and when kids/wives are killed because of DV enabled by religion people tend to blame the individual man instead of the religion (or in this case, country). md brought up the violence done to women in the name of sexual slavery in Pakistan, and that too exists all over america.

  99. 99
    Q.E.D

    Josh Official Spokesgay @ 53 and 85

    I agree with you and was thinking the same thing. Thanks for saying it out loud and taking the predictable heat for it.

    Incomprehensible cruelty occurs at home and abroad but we deserve the scorn of conservatives when we can’t manage plain-spoken, unreserved, moral revulsion at a parent throwing acid on his/her child’s face without a paragraph long, self-flagellating, mea culpa and caveats about how equally terrible our culture is.

  100. 100
    Anthony K

    The mere mentioning of these incidents is not ipso facto bigotry. Expressing shock at them is not either.

    No. But, now we have to give md his fucking handjob, and when StevoR drags his slimy ass into the fray, we’ll again have to cover all of this over again.

    And for what? Has anybody here really learned anything of use about Pakistan from this ‘shocking’ anecdote?

    I’m shocked. You’re shocked. We’re all shocked. How shocking. Get a fucking electrician in here, we’re practically being electrocuted.

    What’s so fucking necessary about these conversations? What do we learn?

    I know what md and StevoR and Sam Harris seem to learn. Those of us who are the progressives, what do we get out of it?

    Because all you can really do is say, “Oh, that’s horrific.” Great. Done. Now that we’ve had our two seconds of torture porn, now we gotta deal with fuckheads like md and their bullshit.

    We are capable of being outraged at multiple things at once, you know.

    Sure. I guess. Why? What does this do for us? What did we learn?

  101. 101
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I agree, skeptifem. I referred to LGBT kids there because I referred to them upthread. The treatment of women by religious types in the US is, again, very similar and different only in degree (and frequently, that degree isn’t much) to what it is elsewhere.

  102. 102
    md

    I do not think that parents murdering/torturing their children happens at the same rate all over the world, but I do think that no country has a monopoly on not doing shit like that.

    Winner, winner. I get truly happy when I can agree with a comment here. Sure, Christians and other Mericans have done some murderous stuff to their kids. IM sure there are incidents we can find.

    But what exactly are the differences in that rate you speak of, to the best we can quantify, with our scientific, rational minds? Is this difference in rate important?

    I see lots of mention of LGBT kids. Do the Pakistani’s or Muslims more broadly, have a history of treating LGBT kids better than Americans? Worse? No difference?

    The barbarism description comes into play, I assert, when the surrounding society is largely okay with the beheading, stoning, etc. To Afghanistan credit, the Telegraph reports they arrested 4 people in response the the beheading. CBC reports the same for Inshallah. But then there’s this:

    The father said the family had already come under public censure because of their older daughter’s behaviour, but he did not detail what exactly he meant.

    and this:

    According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, at least 943 women were killed in the name of honour last year. Only 20 of the women were reported to have been given medical care before they died, the report said. The real toll is believed to be higher because many of the crimes go unreported.

    So on the positive side these killings are not quite like the legal death sentences of stoning for adultery in Iran, Nigeria. On the negative, this goes on quite a bit and receives approval and is, if we are to take the father at his word, encouraged by community members in Pakistan.

    I wonder if these dead girls would be more concerned with being labeled members of a barbaric society by people far away, or with staying alive.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali doesn’t seem to mind strong criticism of Islam. Engages in a bit of it herself. Does her opinion carry more weight with Pharyngulites, given her physical and psychological scars?

  103. 103
    Anthony K

    Incomprehensible cruelty occurs at home and abroad but we deserve the scorn of conservatives when we can’t manage plain-spoken, unreserved, moral revulsion at a parent throwing acid on his/her child’s face without a paragraph long,

    Fuck you. You think with your gut, like a common redneck barbarian.

    I went to fucking school for a fucking reason.

  104. 104
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    md, my comment was not in favor of your “brown people are barbarians” sentiment.

  105. 105
    AJ Milne

    Re intent, PZ wrote:

    It’s true. Religion compels people to commit abominable and terrifying acts normally well out of bounds of the behavior of well adjusted, normal people.

    And actually, yes, I absolutely would argue this is, in its essence, true, if, sure, obviously, a very simplistic statement of the general relation. So no, I don’t think it’s ‘facile’ to conclude this, on the evidence, at all.

    Nor, by the way, is it much of a rejoinder to say ‘but armies’, nor ‘but nationalism’, nor ‘but the Khmer Rouge’ nor ‘but the British in their colonial holdings’ nor ‘but institutional torture committed on behalf of Western powers and nations allied with and not allied with them’. Yes, there are other ways to get people to commit violent and deeply vicious acts against people, including those you’d like to hope would be the last people on Earth to whom they’d do this, too. But saying enough talk about religion’s role in this here is like saying to an internal medicine specialist ‘shut up about the flu already; there are also other diseases that kill people’. And yes there are confounding factors here around why the religion in this time and place goes where it does, and no, the religion isn’t all ‘bad’, depending on what you’re interested in, nor is any religion, but, again, PZ doesn’t say that.

    Nor is it a rejoinder to say ‘but violence within families not obviously associated with nor driven by a specific religion’. Also true, and, again, I’d think obviously so. But where does PZ say ‘get religion out of the picture and suddenly there will be no such thing’?

    Nor is it even much of a rejoinder to say ‘Oh, those dreadfully crude, jejune, facile, ethnocentric Gnus who just go and harp on this to make themselves feel better, and don’t even want to understand the complexities of the situation’.

    On the contrary, while I’ve a little more sympathy with that criticism, repeated without qualification, it becomes just cheap broad brush smearing of its own flavour, and also an easy jumping to conclusions. Yes, it would be nice to see more involved, longer, more nuanced writing on this stuff, and context is always lovely, but this is a blog, not a research paper. And just because not everyone writes an essay on this stuff doesn’t mean they don’t understand it, or don’t want to.

    And note also that against the–sure, considerable–risk of accentuating xenophobia that comes with pointing to a religion your audience doesn’t feel they’ve grown up with, the advantage of pointing to that ‘alien’ world is that your audience is going to see it without the blinkers the local variant’s social engineering and simple familiarity have given them. There. That’s what it looks like from far enough outside. Nice, huh?

    But getting back to those ‘but’s, no, bringing them up doesn’t make them ‘rejoinders’, and given people get that, it actually doesn’t at all bother me…

    Because as opposed to rejoinders, I think it makes them additions. What happens in Pakistan, what happens in Guantanamo, what happens in US client state torture chambers, these are all things you can generalize from, learn from given that outside context. So no, none of this argues at all against then turning it around and bringing it back home and saying: now that your heart rate is up and you’re thinking about the last picture of acid-scarred kids looked like (and do go find them, if you haven’t seen them), consider what your local variant former state religion and even your own tribal ingroup/outgroup loyalties excuse, too…

    So, no, seriously, I’ve really no trouble with people pointing out what broadly ‘Western’ culture gets up to against those it deems other or lower. As long as it’s really an expand the conversation move, not a shut up this line of discussion move.

    The mildly annoying thing for me here, though, is, I tend just to assume people know this stuff, the fine print, the nuances, the longer, larger story. So, honestly, it almost gets repetitive to keep saying: no, you don’t need religion to drive violence against women, nor shaming of promiscuity, nor of any sexual behaviour outside a rigid code enforced by tradition, so on, nor does this exactly only happen in Pashtun areas of Pakistan…

    Religion, rather, just excuses it, and confounds addressing it, and profoundly, and thereby aggravates the situation, frustrates solutions. Would they throw acid if they didn’t have it in their heads there’s a god and he’s a patriarchal murdering bastard who would do the same and has handed down various draconian rules on all this stuff? Could you talk them out of it easier if you first convince them that look, the god thing, it’s kinda a crock, or, at least, if you could convince them the literal reading of laws and punishments from iron age texts and traditions isn’t really particularly sensible? Assuming you could?

    Hard to know on either point, for certain, in any given case, of course. You could give longer answers to either, too; the former’s easy enough to answer with ‘well, there are certainly other excuses people would equally use for various sorts of nastiness, if not that one specifically’, but then the questions become ‘would they?’ or ‘how many would and how frequently?’. Regardless, you can speak clearly enough to the logic of doing both, all the same. And pointing out that a religion is part of the mechanism is vital, to my mind, not ‘facile’. Especially given all the forces that try to get unbelievers to shut up about religion in the first place, finding an excuse to shut ourselves up just because any given news note lacks sufficient qualifiers and supporting essays, I don’t think that’s a particularly healthy direction.

    And pointing it out isn’t necessarily just patting yourself on the back for, oh, being so superior to those ‘others’, those ‘savages’; it’s holding up a particularly vivid and memorable sign and saying, look, this is where this stuff has gone and does still go, this is a big part of the whole system. This is what gods give excuses for. This is religion’s history and its present; it isn’t all fucking rainbows and soup kitchens and the nucleus around which organized resistance to imperialism forms.

    Religions in my mind are such dangerous tools not by accident, either. And ‘but armies’ is actually pretty à propos, actually–again, not so much an objection as an addition, especially–because both Islam and Christianity, at least, took much of their shape and owe much of their prominence from the fact that they were promoted as state/imperial religions, and thus, to a large degree, as national and nationalist ideologies starting from around 1400 and 1700 years ago, respectively, and are very much related creature of very similar eras and circumstances. That was the whole damned point of them: unifying forces, means of indoctrination and the enforcing of uniformity and rationalization for loyalty to the crown and the state in the mass societies of their day, and thus they are social technologies on which civilization grew in and of themselves, one way kings found to form societies larger than tribes, and ones which seem to work pretty well, albeit with some hellish side effects, for that purpose on this particular species of nearly hairless chimps.

    And they’re still doing what they were meant to do; that’s the hell of it, and that’s the problem. Shutting them down or at least moderating them when we need means of social organization that don’t carry with them vicious penal codes from the previous millennium and from the ugly dawn of brutal empires, that’s the challenge.

    (/I’d add, finally, I think that’s probably one of the best ways to talk people out of it, for the practical purposes, here: you don’t necessarily bother to tell them their god isn’t there, as, honestly, that’s probably not the most important part of this, anyway. Rather, you point out what religions are socially, why they exist, what they’ve been used for, why they came to be when they came to be, why they enshrine the moral codes they do, get it through their heads that state religions from iron age empires crafted for such purposes and in such a world are naturally going to fit pretty uneasily into 21st century nations, especially those trying to run on forms of government in which power isn’t meant to flow in one direction from a god king on down. And if they later conclude the god didn’t need to be there for this to happen, fine, I guess that’s gravy, too, and their thinking will probably be so much the clearer for it, but hell, whatever. Get ‘em to ‘laws are human creations and subject to revision and always have been, whatever inspiration was claimed at the time’, and abstractions of theology beyond that are pretty much whatever, as far as I’m concerned.)

  106. 106
    Ichthyic

    A 15 year old girl has been murdered in Pakistan.

    By having acid poured on her face.

    By her parents.

    sorry, brain shut down.

  107. 107
    Q.E.D

    Brownian @ 100

    because, like sexist behaviour in our community, it is an ongoing issue and we need to keep talking about and it, raise awareness and try to stop it?

    I’m researching charities that focusses on educating muslim girls. After the (repeated) outrage, that’s my small contribution.

  108. 108
    jaygonzo

    Who the fuck walks around a supply of reagent-grade murder?

  109. 109
    gussnarp

    There is one piece of good news: they’re in jail. I don’t know how they’ll be judged under Pakistani law, if there’s any real justice they’ll spend the rest of their lives behind bars. I doubt that will happen, but at least they’re not walking free now.

  110. 110
    Anthony K

    Now that makes sense, Q.E.D., or at least it does to me.

    Here are a couple: http://www.acidviolence.org/, and http://www.acidsurvivors.org/.

  111. 111
    Ichthyic

    Religions in my mind are such dangerous tools not by accident, either.

    not hardly by plan, but not always by conscious intent, either.

    what drives religions are often the personalities of those who populate them the most heavily, and most often these are authoritarian personality types.

    they will drive the religion towards things that promote internal group cohesiveness, emphasize their “difference” from the “other”, and open up positions for social dominants to act in “leadership” roles.

    in fact, simple authoritarianism explains the structure of 90% of the organized religions on the planet, IMO.

    that social dominants can control large groups of authoritarian personalities is proven throughout history.

  112. 112
    Ichthyic

    Apparently the men of Pakistan have no honor to lose?

    lol. ouch.

  113. 113
    Q.E.D

    Brownian @ 103

    redneck barbarian? what are you on about? I also went to school. What is your point exactly?

  114. 114
    Amphiox

    The only reason why even bringing up the topic of “America is “better” than Pakistan in this or that regard” in this thread is to absolve America of the need to be even better that it is now.

    Suppose it really is true that America is “better” than Pakistan on this issue, however you choose to define it. Suppose you actually have the hard numbers to prove it. Suppose Pakistan is beyond the pale here, worst of the worst, the bottom of the cesspool.

    So what?

    What honor is there to be won from being “better” than Pakistan on this?

    If you love America, don’t you think America should be holding itself to a higher standard than that?

  115. 115
    anteprepro

    can you produce for me two stories from the last month of women being murdered by their American Christian (your qualifying description) parents by the methods of, but, because I dont want to be accused of ethnocentrism, certainly not limited to, beheading or pouring-of-acid-on faces,

    Look at this shit from md. Look at it hard. This is what the SHOCK OUTRAGE over Islamic atrocities boils down to. What all the accusations of barbarity boil down to. Sure, American Christians kill defenseless people. Sure, American Christians target the same subjugated groups as Islamic extremists. Sure, American Christians use the death penalty just like those kinds of Islamic countries that we are supposed to look down our noses at. But American Christians don’t kill their victims using acid or beheadings , so that makes Muslims more primitive and therefore more evil . Because they aren’t sophisticated enough to murder with handguns, execute with injections, and bomb from airplanes. Basically, in the feeble emotional minds of these onlookers, killing people is worse if a third worlder is doing it.

  116. 116
    Ichthyic

    that social dominants can control large groups of authoritarian personalities is proven throughout history.

    I’d amend that to say “manipulate” instead of control.

    sometimes, social dominants *think* they can control large groups of RWA’s, but once empowered, RWAs will often take off on their own tack, as a group, and the social dominants can no longer control them.

    hence, what I think is happening in many Muslim countries with the rise of the kind of extremism we see here, which was born of manipulation of Islam by social dominants, but has totally run amok now that there is a huge empowered movement of extremists within Islam.

    also what is happening in the US, as the neocons successfully manipulated the RWAs with hot-button issues for 40 years, but now those same RWAs, having been empowered for decades, have taken it upon themselves to form their OWN political parties, or at least try to. Hence we see things like teabaggers, etc.

    it’s what McCain was warning the GoP about in 2000 even.

  117. 117
    Anthony K

    What is your point exactly?

    That I don’t need you or anybody else to try to shame me into having “plain-spoken, unreserved, moral revulsion” about a particular issue.

    Anyway, on to the context of acid attacks:

    Acid violence is common not only in Pakistan but also in Uganda, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia and 15 other countries worldwide.It is symptomatic of a widespread societal problem — the pervasive subjugation of women in economic, social, cultural and political spheres of life.At least 1,500 attacks are reported globally each year, though experts warn the real number is far higher. Eighty percent of acid attacks are aimed at women — 40% of whom are under the age of 18. According to Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), the world’s leading organization addressing the issue, attacks happen in Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist countries.The main reasons for attacks are rejection of love, marriage or sex proposals. In other cases, perpetrators motivated by land or business disputes may attack their opponents’ wives or daughters because disfiguring these women will irreparably harm the entire family.

  118. 118
    Ichthyic

    Because they aren’t sophisticated enough to murder with handguns, execute with injections, and bomb from airplanes.

    no, it’s more than that, it’s that in the West, authoritarians are ‘sophistimacated’ enough to murder by manipulating economic circumstance and access.

    murder by omission instead of commission.

    this is exactly what the right has done in the US with regards to things like abortion.

    sure, an abortion doctor or two has actually been literally murdered, as a nice bit of pure terrorism, but the real big effect has simply been a gradual denial of service, period.

    you don’t actually have to shoot someone to take away their rights. This is what the West has learned. The middle east simply feels they can be more up front and quick about it.

    the attitudes however, as you rightly imply, are exactly the same, and driven by the same authoritarian personality issues.

  119. 119
    Ichthyic

    I get truly happy when I can agree with a comment here.

    that’s both pathetic and sad.

    really.

    you should consider what this actually means wrt to your personality.

  120. 120
    md

    anteprepro,

    do you believe that a mob stoning two adulterers to death (and, btw, forcing everyone nearby to stay and watch, because to walk away would be disrepectful to the families injured by the adultery) is morally equivalent to giving a convicted murderer a lethal injection?

    I know a person who was in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war who witnessed the above event described. As this person turned away in revulsion at the event was told not to leave and to watch, as to show respect to the families. I do not apologize for judging that barbaric. I do not see anything equivalent to that level of barbarity in America since the lynching of blacks and before that the Salem witch trials. People can change. When will the Saudis and the Pakistanis and the Iranians, etc etc?

    As for my above example, I was trying to be generous to Ing, I knew if I asked for murders with the exact same parameters there would be no contest.

    The the article PZ links to, a Pakistani Human rights commission reports 943 honor killings in Pakistan last year. How many were in America? If the number is not similar, adjusted per capita, please stop saying American Christians are just as bad.

  121. 121
    Ichthyic

    do you believe that a mob stoning two adulterers to death (and, btw, forcing everyone nearby to stay and watch, because to walk away would be disrepectful to the families injured by the adultery) is morally equivalent to giving a convicted murderer a lethal injection?

    morals are relative.

    the question should be, are these comparable practically?

    if the law in one country is capital punishment by public stoning for adultery, and in another capital punishment for treason, and another capital punishment for murder…

    what is the common theme there?

    hint: it has fuck all to do with morals.

  122. 122
    Ichthyic

    How many were in America?

    secular laws are different here.

    you should be asking things like:

    how many wives were physically abused or murdered by husbands because of imagined or real instances of adultery?

    that you choose to focus on labels you don’t understand, like “honor killings”, is irrelevant to what motivates the actions to begin with, and whether these motivations are as common in one place as another.

    you are one simplistic fuckwit not to be able to see this.

  123. 123
    Ichthyic

    Acid violence is common not only in Pakistan but also in Uganda, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia and 15 other countries worldwide.

    Gives a whole new spin to the old slogan:

    “Better Living Through Chemistry.”

  124. 124
    md

    why is honor killing get the scare quote treatment? You trying to wish the practice out of existence, Ichthyic?

    How many wives and daughters are beaten the streets in front of an approving community here in America, Ichthyic? Please provide links.

  125. 125
    Anthony K

    How many wives and daughters are beaten the streets in front of an approving community here in America, Ichthyic?

    In my family alone I can name at least three. That was some thirty years ago in Canada, but…

    Please provide links.

    You can suck my fucking asshole, Mr. I-know-a-person-who-was-in-Saudi-Arabia-during-the-Persian-Gulf-War.

    SO, PZ AND EVERYBODY ELSE, YOU WANNA COME DEAL WITH THE REPERCUSSIONS OF YOUR FUN LITTLE MOMENT OF OUTRAGE HERE?

  126. 126
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Brownian, md is an assclam even without threads like this.

  127. 127
    Anthony K

    Brownian, md is an assclam even without threads like this.

    So threads like this are just like religion.

    Not necessary for assclams like md to be assclams, but there’s clearly a relationship nonetheless.

  128. 128
    md

    Brownian,

    I thought you were taking a self imposed timeout because things got too controversial for you.

  129. 129
    Ichthyic

    why is honor killing get the scare quote treatment?

    to emphasize it.

    you do understand why quotes are used around words?

    no, you don’t, because you are a moron.

    I keep forgetting that.

    You are a moron, and I have a bad memory.

    You are a moron, and I have a bad memory.

    You are a moron, and I have a bad memory.

    there, that should help.

  130. 130
    cicely

    *blinkblink*
    Brownian…do I correctly understand you to be suggesting that I would excuse a similar violence, if it were some American cultural conditioning providing motive/excuse/justification? That I would think it was “okay if it’s us doing it”?

    It’s horrifying when “they” do it. It’s horrifying when “we” do it. As in, it evokes (at least in me) a response of horror at the act. Regardless of whatever basis for motive/excuse/justification the actor is using.
    -

  131. 131
    Ichthyic

    How many wives and daughters are beaten the streets in front of an approving community here in America, Ichthyic?

    *sigh*

    last time, moron, for even your compromised brain:

    that things work differently in the US does NOT MEAN that there is not similar attitudes, and that women are not killed or beaten for adultery there.

    again, that you can’t see past the minor differences just keeps painting you with the big moron brush.

  132. 132
    leftwingfox

    “Mom” already had the acid in hand, and deployed during the space of that short an interchange?

    More likely she was begging her mother for forgiveness after being attacked, when the acid could have been washed off.

    I took a beaker of sulphuric acid to the face in a lab accident back in high school. (Beaker slipped from my hand, smacked flat on the counter, causing a large splash). My pants and shirt discoloured and became brittle that night where the slash touched them. Goggles and quick access to water prevented anything more than a couple days of redness.

    The most charitable thing that could be said was that the parents “only” meant to disfigure their daughter permanently, rather than killing her. I don’t think that makes them any less monstrous.

  133. 133
    mythbri

    I do know that when video surfaced of a music celebrity viciously beating a woman in an apartment after she shoved him defensively, people in the comments were saying that’s what women can expect for getting physical with a man and not expecting him do hit back. I know that people in comments will say that there’s only so much that someone can take before they snap and lash out violently. I know that people in comments will call the woman an “uppity bitch” who should have known her place.

    I do know that a discussion of a celebrity instance of domestic violence will bring out comments saying that battered women are all secretly masochists, that they really like and/or deserve being abused. I know that violence is romanticized in our culture to the detriment of people of all genders.

    I know that when a 14-year-old girl accuses an older cousin of molesting her, and said cousin admits to it, there is more discussion in the family about how to keep that crime from being reported to the authorities because “It will ruin him” than there is discussion about getting the 14-year-old girl some help and keeping her abuser away from her.

  134. 134
    Ichthyic

    you can use google, right, moron?

    “husband kills wife for adultery US”

    search on that for starters.

    have fun.

    go away.

  135. 135
    stonyground

    This story was covered on the Freethinker blog. PZ you described your disgust at these people far more eloquently than I did over there.

    The Freethinker blog has also recently covered an incident where a Muslim couple beat their little boy to death because he failed to memorise the Koran and then set their house on fire to try to cover up their crime.

    My only source of hope is that the internet will make more and more people aware of these dreadful crimes and, as a result, allow more and more people to recognise religion as the vile poisonous nonsense that it is.

  136. 136
    georgewiman

    >900 deaths must be a lot more attacks.

    I would be curious what percentage of US gun deaths are some kind of outraged “honor”

    Finally, bringing in US comparisons keeps us from feeling more superior than we ought.

  137. 137
    Anthony K

    I thought you were taking a self imposed timeout because things got too controversial for you.

    You know what makes a timeout a timeout?

    They end.

    Brownian…do I correctly understand you to be suggesting that I would excuse a similar violence, if it were some American cultural conditioning providing motive/excuse/justification? That I would think it was “okay if it’s us doing it”

    No, you don’t understand me correctly. I brought up ‘duality’ as to describe the idea that there’s some normative universal to be reached for and grabbed by people, independent of their personal or cultural surroundings.

    My only source of hope is that the internet will make more and more people aware of these dreadful crimes and, as a result, allow more and more people to recognise religion as the vile poisonous nonsense that it is.

    Right. Let’s forget the description from the Acid Survivors Trust International I gave in 177, and simply pin it all on our favourite whipping boy, religion.

  138. 138
    Ichthyic

    I would be curious what percentage of US gun deaths are some kind of outraged “honor”

    you sir, are asking the right question.

  139. 139
    mythbri

    I think I get it. People like md would like some kind of not-throwing-acid-in-people’s-faces cookie.

    Congratulations, md. You (probably) don’t throw acid in people’s faces. Good for you. *applause*

  140. 140
    Anthony K

    you sir, are asking the right question.

    I don’t know that it’s the ‘right’ question, but that line of investigation looks to be a helluva lot more fruitful than “OMG, how horrible + religion!”

  141. 141
    Ichthyic

    and simply pin it all on our favourite whipping boy, religion.

    to be sure though, it’s a safe bet a lot of those attackers excused their actions via religious dogma of some kind, and I say this because, from your article:

    … the pervasive subjugation of women in economic, social, cultural and political spheres of life.

    is indeed the largest part of the problem, and the largest supporter and enabler OF such attitudes is typically organized religion.

    so, it’s not the whole story, but it’s worth pointing at.

    there is, after all, a REASON why it’s the favored “whipping boy”.

  142. 142
    Ichthyic

    I don’t know that it’s the ‘right’ question, but that line of investigation looks to be a helluva lot more fruitful than “OMG, how horrible + religion!”

    it’s both.

    we need to look at both the similarity of action, and the things that tend to empower those actions.

  143. 143
    grumpypathdoc

    At risk of proverbially, jumping into the vipers den, could we just settle down?

    It’s a really, really bad thing that was perpetrated on this poor helpless young lady by deluded, and possibly insane, parents. The father did it but the mother was there also. Sorry about the use of “thing”, but I cannot imagine what else to call it: horrible, despicable, criminal (definitely, at least here in the west). If one would adhere to Abrahamaic tradition, the father should get the same treatment (the old eye for an eye, etc.)

    If someone wants to do the research (I’m sure it is out there)the rates at which women and girls are abused and killed varies from culture to culture and country to country.

    Abuse and murder are never justified, no matter what, no matter where. Not to say I wouldn’t protect myself, my wife or my children.

    I’d take the bullet, but bring down who did it.

  144. 144
    consciousness razor

    More likely she was begging her mother for forgiveness after being attacked, when the acid could have been washed off.

    Could be, but when I read this, the word “destiny” pops out and makes the whole thing confusing:

    “She said ‘I didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t look again.’ By then I had already thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way,” the girl’s mother told the British broadcaster.

    Look at this way: If you say it’s “destiny” that Obama won the 2008 election, some would interpret that to mean that it was destined to happen even when Obama was a child. So in a manner of speaking, “by then” (by the time Obama was a child) we had “already” cast our ballots (even though in reality it happened years later).

    Even though it’s put in terms of a timeline, it’s not supposed to be about when things happened, but why they happened. She’s not saying she literally threw the acid right then, but her destiny right then was that she would throw the acid later.

    That’s how I read it, anyway.

  145. 145
    Anthony K

    Also cicely, as well as I know you, I do not think you likely to make such excuses.

    So I apologise for that implication. It wasn’t intended.

    to be sure though, it’s a safe bet a lot of those attackers excused their actions via religious dogma of some kind,

    So? Post priori justifications don’t tell us much other than what people feel comfortable using as post priori justifications in their relative cultural spheres.

    is indeed the largest part of the problem, and the largest supporter and enabler OF such attitudes is typically organized religion.

    Is it? Why? It may be one factor, surely, but clearly not the only one.

    so, it’s not the whole story, but it’s worth pointing at.

    there is, after all, a REASON why it’s the favored “whipping boy”.

    Again, that means little. I’d say it’s the favoured ‘whipping boy’ because, as I noted earlier, these sorts of stories are the bread and butter of facile gnu atheist thought.

    And that’s where PZ’s OP stopped.

  146. 146
    Anthony K

    we need to look at both the similarity of action, and the things that tend to empower those actions.

    So here’s a piece on honour, from an anthropological perspective.

  147. 147
    Gaebolga

    Apropos of very little, and just to throw some numbers out there:

    Pakistan has a population of ~180 million people. 943 is a little more than .0005% of the population.

    I’m pretty sure the percentage of sick fucking bastards in any given population is a good deal higher than that, even if we up the percentage by a factor of ten to account for a multitude of attackers in each case.

    Just a guess, of course.

    Obviously, I’m making no claims regarding how religion or culture influence the rate of sick fucking bastards, or how cultural support may serve to provide cover for sick fucking bastards.

    But let’s be brutally honest: sick fucking bastards are literally everywhere.

  148. 148
    md

    I think I get it. People like md would like some kind of not-throwing-acid-in-people’s-faces cookie.

    No you don’t get it, mythbri. See post #42. I would like it if every time PZ decides to post about some atrocity which just happens to be perpetrated by a Muslim if the comment thread didnt immediately shift to “American Christians are just as bad”, unless of course there is some evidence that on the particular topic, American Christians are just as bad.

    Why the knee jerk reaction?

    and, by all means, if some American Christian does do something similarly barbaric, lets have a thread about it and heap scorn and hate all over them, without pointing out how this kind of stuff goes on all the time somewhere else.

    I see now Brownian has said something, if I understand him correctly, I think I agree with: Religion is the favorite whipping boy, the easy explanation, and not really the cause.

    I sometimes get the feeling some atheists, perhaps even commenters on this blog, believe that if religion went away, were abolished, outlawed or excised from our consciousness, people would stop being nasty to one another. Heh.

  149. 149
    janiceintoronto

    Can I move to Planet “B” now?

  150. 150
    Ichthyic

    It’s a really, really bad thing that was perpetrated on this poor helpless young lady by deluded, and possibly insane, parents

    but that’s the point. you want to paint this as an “insane” exception, but Brownian has provided links to directly show this as a ubiquitous phenomenon across many countries.

    are they all suffering from the same mental illness?

    if so, what would that be, you think?

    Post priori justifications don’t tell us much other than what people feel comfortable using as post priori justifications in their relative cultural spheres.

    actually that tells us a lot.

    Is it?

    you just agreed that it is, but disagreed on the importance of it^^.

    It may be one factor, surely, but clearly not the only one.

    it will be tied to any other factor you list.

    got a list?

    of course, underlying the religious dogma will be authoritarianism itself, which in the end is the thing that must be addressed, not to rid ourselves of it, but just to understand it.

    I’d say it’s the favoured ‘whipping boy’ because, as I noted earlier, these sorts of stories are the bread and butter of facile gnu atheist thought.

    so you think gnu atheism is facile now, do you? really?

    being contrarian and facile yourself for any particular reason today?

    need more coffee?

  151. 151
    Ichthyic

    so you think gnu atheism is facile now, do you? really?

    ok, that’s not fair; you might be thinking of “facile gnu atheist’s thought” as being representative of a certain subset that post on blogs rather than the whole of gnu atheist thought being facile.

    if so, then yeah, that’s a point, but it doesn’t bear relevance to whether religion itself is in play as a causal and/or supporting factor here.

  152. 152
    Ichthyic

    I would like it if every time PZ decides to post about some atrocity which just happens to be perpetrated by a Muslim if the comment thread didnt immediately shift to “American Christians are just as bad”, unless of course there is some evidence that on the particular topic, American Christians are just as bad.

    because the discussion is on what underlies the behavior, not just whether someone tosses acid on someone.

    again, nobody gives a shit what you want or would like, because you’re a shallow moron.

  153. 153
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    Brownian, you are sapping my will to be self-righteously indignant.

    I’m left with just ‘sad’.

  154. 154
    Anthony K

    actually that tells us a lot.

    Be more specific. Consider what sort of justifications you hear from atheists for their actions.

    Is FREE SPEECH a religion? Or is there something else going on?

    so you think gnu atheism is facile now, do you? really?

    Yes, indeedy, absolutely. Do I think religion sucks? Yes. Do I think religion sucking has the explanatory power people like to give it? Such as PZ’s OP and stonyground’s comment: “religion as the vile poisonous nonsense that it is.”

    No. It’s a contributing factor to already present bullshit, if that at all.

    being contrarian and facile yourself for any particular reason today?

    Am I? I started off by agreeing with Ing.

  155. 155
    Ichthyic

    So here’s a piece on honour, from an anthropological perspective.

    here’s another:

    http://askanislamicist.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/is-there-a-quranic-basis-for-honor-killings/

    the origin of a behavior does not always account for how it has been coopted in use or excuse.

    I have heard COUNTLESS times that honor killings are supported by particular interpretations of the Qur’an or specific local religious beliefs.

    Again, it is indeed comparable to people using any local flavor of Christianity to excuse their behavior, like killing abortion doctors or homosexuals because the “bible says it’s wrong”, when really, it has fuck all to say about it, especially within the passages supposedly representative of “Christ’s” teachings.

    this does not mean, since the bible doesn’t really say these things, that people don’t use their religion to support their actions on them nonetheless.

  156. 156
    Ing

    Oh I’m sorry was the implicet topic of “how could this happen?” Hypotheticazl? Did we all just want to gafaw at a horrible event and move on? Ill keep that in mind before I share my thoughts. Please go ahead and enjoy the “kitten in microwave story” if no one actually wanted to talk about how such things happen and why.

    I’m sorry some people can’t read a comment that isn’t pure angrish here without calling apologetics despite a) not defending shit and b) explicitly calling for more outrage not less.

  157. 157
    Ichthyic

    Yes, indeedy, absolutely

    You claim all of the analysis of gnu atheism is superficial?

    then I call you a liar and a hypocrite.

  158. 158
    md

    because the discussion is on what underlies the behavior, not just whether someone tosses acid on someone

    What would an evolutionary psychologist tell us about these types of incidents?

    Men acting violently, with definitive effect on reproductive fitness, protecting, as they see it, the mating prospects of their own kin

    Tell me what underlies this behavior, Ichthyic. Then tell me why we see it in non-random patterns around the world.

  159. 159
    PZ Myers

    I don’t even know what people are complaining about here.

    How about getting down to specifics.

    When some horrific culturally motived abuse occurs, should I:

    a) Not say a word. Mentioning the excesses of a culture opens the door to bigotry.

    b) Be sure to mention a complementary horror from the US, so no one thinks I’m picking on culture X.

    c) Only mention evils that occur in the USA.

    d) Say something nice about the terrible awful people who commit such acts, as well as highlighting their crimes.

    e) Pretend that all such evils are the individual acts of the perpetrators, and that cultural and religious influences have no bearing at all.

    f) Some combination of the above.

    Some people seem to be more upset that I’ve reported on the agonizing death of a young girl than at the fact that a young girl died an agonizing death. I don’t get it. I really don’t.

  160. 160
    Ichthyic

    What would an evolutionary psychologist tell us about these types of incidents?

    why the fuck should one care about what you think an evo pysch practitioner would suggest?

    you don’t know anything about the subject.

  161. 161
    Anthony K

    So here’s a piece on honour, from an anthropological perspective.

    here’s another:

    http://askanislamicist.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/is-there-a-quranic-basis-for-honor-killings/

    the origin of a behavior does not always account for how it has been coopted in use or excuse.

    So, you didn’t read any of the piece I’d linked to, or more specifically, the nature of honour as a human construct, the kinds of societies that are more likely to value honour as a concept (pastoralists more than agriculturalists, for instance: does that sound important at all in this discussion)?

    There’s a lot more to unpack here.

    I have heard COUNTLESS times that honor killings are supported by particular interpretations of the Qur’an or specific local religious beliefs.

    Again, it is indeed comparable to people using any local flavor of Christianity to excuse their behavior, like killing abortion doctors or homosexuals because the “bible says it’s wrong”, when really, it has fuck all to say about it, especially within the passages supposedly representative of “Christ’s” teachings.

    this does not mean, since the bible doesn’t really say these things, that people don’t use their religion to support their actions on them nonetheless.

    All this tells us is that in societies where religiosity is considered a value, people feel comfortable using ‘religion’ as an excuse for whatever things they may or may not already do.

    Is the gnu atheist position that we don’t care what actually happens, as long as people don’t get to use religion as an excuse for it?

    Nevermind, I’ve read Harris and the Slymepitters, and I know what the answer is.

  162. 162
    Anthony K

    When some horrific culturally motived abuse occurs, should I:

    What is this, an online poll?

    As is typical for those, you left off the best possible answer:

    g) provide the story with some background or context for thought than a trite and inaccurate “It’s true. Religion compels people to commit abominable and terrifying acts normally well out of bounds of the behavior of well adjusted, normal people.”

    Hell, all I did was Google “acid deaths” (y’know, for context) and found the websites of two organisations that deal specifically with these types of crimes, and copy and paste something a little more productive than that.

  163. 163
    Ichthyic

    How about getting down to specifics.

    OK

    When some horrific culturally motived abuse occurs, should I:

    a) Not say a word. Mentioning the excesses of a culture opens the door to bigotry.

    Nope. I think pointing out cultural extremes spurs conversation about root causes.

    b) Be sure to mention a complementary horror from the US, so no one thinks I’m picking on culture X.

    shouldn’t be necessary.

    c) Only mention evils that occur in the USA.

    nope

    d) Say something nice about the terrible awful people who commit such acts, as well as highlighting their crimes.

    why?

    e) Pretend that all such evils are the individual acts of the perpetrators, and that cultural and religious influences have no bearing at all.

    nope, but you probably keep needing to make the underlying connections. In each and every case. Or you can be accused of making facile connections, which is a fair, and then requires others to argue for those connections or against them.

    f) Some combination of the above.

    always! :)

    how’s that then?

  164. 164
    Ichthyic

    So, you didn’t read any of the piece I’d linked to, or more specifically, the nature of honour as a human construct

    yes, I did.

    did you read the part where I said that origins are necessarily relevant to usage?

    All this tells us is that in societies where religiosity is considered a value, people feel comfortable using ‘religion’ as an excuse for whatever things they may or may not already do.

    FFS, this is exactly WHY religion is a relevant factor to discuss!

  165. 165
    Ichthyic

    did you read the part where I said that origins aren’t necessarily relevant to usage?

    fixed.

  166. 166
    aaronbaker

    Horrible. It just leaves me numb.

  167. 167
    Ichthyic

    Nevermind, I’ve read Harris and the Slymepitters, and I know what the answer is.

    I’ll come back when you exhibit some understanding of what it is I’m actually saying.

  168. 168
    Anthony K

    All this tells us is that in societies where religiosity is considered a value, people feel comfortable using ‘religion’ as an excuse for whatever things they may or may not already do.

    FFS, this is exactly WHY religion is a relevant factor to discuss!

    No, it doesn’t. Slip in any value there, and the structure (and behaviour) remains intact.

    All this tells us is that in societies where FREE SPEECH is considered a value, people feel comfortable using ‘FREE SPEECH’ as an excuse for whatever things they may or may not already do.

    Now, who does that remind you of?

    If religion is just one concept that fits in this mad lib, how useful is it as an explanation?

  169. 169
    Anthony K

    I’ll come back when you exhibit some understanding of what it is I’m actually saying.

    I’ve read The Authoritarians. I can slip your favoured whipping boy in without your assistance.

  170. 170
    Ichthyic

    I can slip your favoured whipping boy in without your assistance.

    obviously not, since apparently you think it’s all just facile, regardless of which overarching factor one chooses to look at.

    Slip in any value there, and the structure (and behaviour) remains intact.

    false analogy fail.

    again, I think you’re playing at being facile yourself today.

    make your point, so I can move on and forget this worthless conversation with you.

  171. 171
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Yes, indeedy, absolutely.

    Ah. Very well, then.

  172. 172
    Anthony K

    make your point, so I can move on and forget this worthless conversation with you.

    Who’s forcing you to write? Authoritarians or the religious?

    Ah. Very well, then.

    The fact that the movement is built on this kind of overly simplistic bullshit does not make me James Croft.

  173. 173
    Ichthyic

    Who’s forcing you to write? Authoritarians or the religious?

    ah, thanks for making such a cogent point.

    or is it facile?

    you’ve made me confuse the two words in your overzealous attempt to paint all gnu atheist consideration of the influence of religious though on behavior as superficial.

    good luck on your crusade.

  174. 174
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    The fact that the movement is built on this kind of overly simplistic bullshit does not make me James Croft.

    What are you talking about? You made a blanket statement about the movement, which would have to include those posts by me. I don’t believe those posts are facile. I think your blanket dismissal is facile.

    I understand where you’re coming from, believe me, but you’re painting with an overly broad brush.

  175. 175
    Anthony K

    Come back when you exhibit some understanding of what it is I’m actually saying.

  176. 176
    Anthony K

    Er, that was to Ichthyic.

    I understand where you’re coming from, believe me, but you’re painting with an overly broad brush.

    Yes, I believe you might SC, and Ing maybe, and maybe AJ and some others, but posts like this are simply emotion-stirring for the sake of emotion-stirring.

    And when people do ask what the point of stories like this are, what the conclusion to be drawn is, what happens?

    This thread.

  177. 177
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    posts like this are simply emotion-stirring for the sake of emotion-stirring.

    But is that bad? If nothing else, maybe people should be sad to know that this happened. Maybe we don’t have much excuse to not go around being sad about our species. This is a public service to remind us of that fact.

  178. 178
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    But my comment wasn’t about your response to this post or posts like this or Sam Harris or whatever. It was specifically to your affirmative response to “so you think gnu atheism is facile now, do you? really?”

    I expected that you would say “no, but some of it is.” I was surprised to read your answer. I think that’s wrong as a blanket statement, and that it’s harmful to contribute to stereotypes of gnus (which are often extended to atheists generally). Again, I agree with you to some extent (and have said so in the past on different occasions), but I don’t appreciate my position being lumped in the “facile” category (and I’m not suggesting that everything else gnu should be).

    And that’s all I have to say on the subject here.

  179. 179
    Nick Gotts

    why is honor killing get the scare quote treatment? – md

    Fuckwit. Do you think it’s honorable to kill women for sexual “transgressions”?

  180. 180
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Brownian:

    … posts like this are simply emotion-stirring for the sake of emotion-stirring.

    So very cynical.

  181. 181
    Anthony K

    I expected that you would say “no, but some of it is.”

    Yes, that is how I should have responded. I was wrong, and you and Ichthyic were of course right to call me out on it. I dug in my heels on that part, and I was wrong to do so.

    But is that bad? If nothing else, maybe people should be sad to know that this happened. Maybe we don’t have much excuse to not go around being sad about our species. This is a public service to remind us of that fact.

    Then there’s nothing wrong with also noting other, local, cases to be sad about. Or the ~30,000 children who die every day.

  182. 182
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Yes, that is how I should have responded. I was wrong, and you and Ichthyic were of course right to call me out on it. I dug in my heels on that part, and I was wrong to do so.

    Thanks, Brownian.

  183. 183
    rrhain

    Hmmm…let’s go back through the Pharyngula postings. We’ve got:

    A story of a Catholic hospital refusing to perform abortions in ectopic pregnancies (http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/11/05/think-of-it-as-gods-bloody-practical-joke/)

    All the stupid things Republicans have been saying about rape (http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/10/26/a-bad-way-to-start-the-morning/)

    And that doesn’t even get into the posts about religious rites resulting in the death of people (faith healings, exorcisms, etc.) and other stories of sexism, racism, homophobia, objectification, etc. that don’t quite rise to the level of sanctioning death and/or rape.

    So it would seem that Myers isn’t really pointing to Pakistan as some sort of outlier. He is quite aware of similar actions here in the US and is just as disgusted by them.

    But all that said, I’m wondering how one can examine the case of a child being killed by her parents in what is objectively an excructiatingly painful method for “looking at a boy” and claim that it is “ethnocentrism” to claim, “That’s disgusting.”

    I very much understand the need to make sure we don’t engage in cultural imperialism, but I’m truly baffled as to why it is being brought up in this instance. Exactly how does one provide a proper contextual understanding such that it is OK to throw acid on someone for looking at a boy?

    So help us out here, Brownian. You went to that “fucking school for a fucking reason.” You are skeptical of the “normative unisversal…independent of their personal or cultural surroundings,” so tell us what it takes to make this act OK.

    You seem to be saying that you are upset over the way in which a person realizes that killing someone for looking at a boy is disgusting. Dr. Seuss wrote a book about that. Are you a butter-side downer? Is that really the source of the problem?

    We really don’t need you or anybody else claiming that our disgust at this event is somehow inauthentic or compromised.

  184. 184
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    I got to all to this comment and had to stop.

    How many wives and daughters are beaten the streets in front of an approving community here in America, Ichthyic? Please provide links.

    I HAVE. I have been beaten twice in public in broad daylight where no one stopped to help or said anything or did anything. They glanced through the side of their eyes and fucking ignored me getting my head bashed into the hot sidewalk.

    Guess what? Bet your fucking ass it happens all the time.

    Same thing growing up in MI in church everyone saw the wife with the black eye but didn’t do or say shit about it. Not one goddamn word of disapproval and yes, that silence is tolerance and agreement. Same thing when I showed up to school with bruises or took a punch from my father.

    Want to pull some shit to defend how our abuse is covered up, hidden better magically makes it better when in fact our society does approve of such behavior?

    Now I’m going to read the rest of the thread and hope I didn’t make an ass of myself. I highly doubt it though.

  185. 185
    skeptifem

    md
    ]

    What would an evolutionary psychologist tell us about these types of incidents?

    they would make up some bullshit about cavedudes or pronging and expect everyone to accept it uncritically. Until psychologists can explain the behavior as it exists now it is pretty fucking worthless to try and figure out the evolutionary origin of it. Its a guessing game when so much vital information is lacking.

  186. 186
    Jadehawk

    do you believe that a mob stoning two adulterers to death (and, btw, forcing everyone nearby to stay and watch, because to walk away would be disrepectful to the families injured by the adultery) is morally equivalent to giving a convicted murderer a lethal injection?
    [...]
    I do not see anything equivalent to that level of barbarity in America since the lynching of blacks

    indeed, the USAmericans have luckily stopped killing blacks they didn’t like barbarically by stringing them up in the streets; they’re civilized now and are therefore killing them with lethal injections instead.

  187. 187
    Anthony K

    so tell us what it takes to make this act OK.

    Are you seriously asking me that?

    Why, culture: the same thing that tells us it’s okay to eat cows and not dogs, pigs and not bugs, wear pink and not blue/brown and not purple, sleep with siblings/not sleep with siblings, sleep with other members of the same sex/not sleep with other members of the same sex, kill a lion to become a man/recite the Torah to become a man, get married to become a woman/have a baby to become a woman, etc. etc. etc.

    It is ethnocentrism. There’s no two ways about it. The only reason you feel disgust at this is because you were raised in a culture that tells you such things are disgust worthy.

    As for the rest of your comment, I’m not telling you to feel anything. I’m saying that these posts do nothing but prompt us to wring our hands, crying “What about the children?!” and then conclude that religion poisons everything.

    Really, this whole shit started with me agreeing with Ing.

    But my point is that if these posts do nothing but satisfy your own sense of smug superiority for not believing in gods while at the same time provide cover for racist fucks like md, then I hope it was all worth it for you.

  188. 188
    Anthony K

    So it would seem that Myers isn’t really pointing to Pakistan as some sort of outlier. He is quite aware of similar actions here in the US and is just as disgusted by them.

    Oh, and rrhain?

    Links/comment numbers or it didn’t happen.

  189. 189
    Ichthyic

    Thanks, Brownian.

    seconded.

    and, I thank you for the link showing the widespread nature of these attacks.

  190. 190
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    OK. What does it matter if it’s “religion” or “culture” that drives people to do anything? There’s no bright line between religion and culture (hell, they’re not even really different things). Forget the terminology: what we’re saying is “a powerful social force that affects/justifies/places-out-of-bounds decisions and action in the most fundamental way.”

    If PZ had used the word “culture” instead of “religion” in his post, would you see nothing to critique, Brownian? If not, why not? If so, why?

    If you believe an action is ethnocentric and bigoted it doesn’t make the smallest difference whether that action is couched in terms of “religion” or “culture.” That’s just semantics. I’m having a hard time believing you wouldn’t be equally upset with the OP if we switched those words. Do you think so, really?

  191. 191
    Ing

    Seriously? Fuck you too PZ. Clearly not wanted so ill flounce

  192. 192
    Anthony K

    and, I thank you for the link showing the widespread nature of these attacks.

    I had no idea until I found those two organisations for acid-survivors.

    If PZ had used the word “culture” instead of “religion” in his post, would you see nothing to critique, Brownian? If not, why not? If so, why?

    It would amount to the same thing, more or less.

  193. 193
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    But my point is that if these posts do nothing but satisfy your own sense of smug superiority for not believing in gods while at the same time provide cover for racist fucks like md,

    There it is. Right there. Drop the ‘if’ because it’s obvious it’s not ‘if’ for you. You’re decided. Subject off-limits and is always motivated by the basest ignorant tribalism and that’s that can’t talk about it.

    Talk about smug? You’ve shit all over people who’ve tried to be reasonable (yeah, including me. I really did try) and you’ve slammed ‘em all into your shitbox ignorant bigot category no matter what they say. What the hell got into you to make you so self-absorbed you can’t even contemplateother motivations. Jesus Christ that’s narcissistic.

  194. 194
    Jadehawk

    If PZ had used the word “culture” instead of “religion” in his post, would you see nothing to critique, Brownian? If not, why not? If so, why?

    is there a movement of a-culturalists out there, blaming every negative act that can be connected to culture, any culture at all, on culture per-se, and are advocating for the end of all culture everywhere?

    point being, I’ve not ever seen anyone ever criticize culture qua culture the way the gnu atheists criticize religion qua religion; for obvious reasons, of course, but those obvious reasons are the answer to “What does it matter if it’s “religion” or “culture” that drives people to do anything?”

  195. 195
    Anthony K

    What does it matter if it’s “religion” or “culture” that drives people to do anything?

    Except that it wouldn’t be as easy to shoehorn the whole thing into a tidy “religion compels people to commit abominable and terrifying acts normally well out of bounds of the behavior of well adjusted, normal people” thesis.

  196. 196
    Ichthyic

    I had no idea until I found those two organisations for acid-survivors.

    I had no idea there were organizations for acid-survivors!

    a tiny bit of light, though not enough for the victim in this case unfortunately.

    I wonder how the case against the parents will turn out.

  197. 197
    Anthony K

    Drop the ‘if’ because it’s obvious it’s not ‘if’ for you. You’re decided. Subject off-limits and is always motivated by the basest ignorant tribalism and that’s that can’t talk about it.

    Shut the fuck up. You don’t know me or my motivations any more than you know PZ’s for posting this post.

  198. 198
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    When some horrific culturally motived abuse occurs, should I:…

    Hmm. I think it would be helpful if you provided links to the organizations – especially those in the localities where this is happening – that are addressing the problem and doing research on the causes. These are often provided in the comment threads, but they’d be seen by far more people if you linked them in the post. (That doesn’t mean not criticizing their arguments or approach.)

  199. 199
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Except that it wouldn’t be as easy to shoehorn the whole thing into a tidy “religion compels people to commit abominable and terrifying acts normally well out of bounds of the behavior of well adjusted, normal people” thesis.

    That is not an answer (and yeah, I noticed I don’t rate enough to have you deign to respond to me in any detail or even acknowledge the majority of what I’ve written). If the acts themselves are worthy of criticism (acid attacks, LGBT beatings, etc.) what does it matter what semantic label we put on them? What is your goal? Why is it a desirable state of affairs for it to “not be easy to shoehorn. . ?” I’m not playing dumb, I’m trying to get you to articulate your explicit goal so I can understand where you’re going.

  200. 200
    Jadehawk

    Drop the ‘if’ because it’s obvious it’s not ‘if’ for you. You’re decided. Subject off-limits and is always motivated by the basest ignorant tribalism and that’s that can’t talk about it.

    and the conversation is back to the thing you didn’t want to answer eariler: if not for that, then what are these kinds of stories for, then? I mean, if PZ had included the link to the organizations Brownial linked to, the answer would be “to highlight a problem and get people to contribute to its alleviation”; if it were addressed to people who can actually do something about these things, the way a lot of posts about internal US politics are, then the answer would be “to highlight a problem and get people politically active to alleviate or end it”

    but just a post like that, with no prompt other than “religion did this”?

  201. 201
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    And here we are. Go fuck yourself silly Brownian. You’ve been a fucking asshole for the last several months since you decided nobody was goddamn Simon Pur enough for you.

  202. 202
    rrhain

    @Browninan: Yes, I am seriously asking you that. You’re the one that is pointing out cultural issues as being relevant in regard to someone thinking, “That’s disgusting,” when presented with an example of a girl being killed from an acid attack due to looking at a boy.

    So exactly what sort of cultural reference is there that makes this OK? If it is real and true that “the only reason [I] feel disgust at this is because [I] was raised in a culture that tells [me] such things are disgust worthy,” then what sort of cultural reference is there that makes this OK?

    Be specific. It would seem, after all, that even the culture in which this attack took place finds it disgusting (the parents are in jail) and even one of the people involved in the attacks has some second thoughts.

    Oh, and Brownian? I posted links. You did read my post, didn’t you? Oh, you want every single example? Well, tough. Do your own homework. I got you started. You can continue on. It’s not like you are incapable of pressing the “Older Entries” button.

  203. 203
    Ichthyic

    what does it matter what semantic label we put on them?

    ??

    why do we use descriptors for anything then?

    all colors should just be “gray”.

    is culture a subset of religion, or is religion a subset of culture, do you think?

    if there is an answer to that question in your mind, then there is a use for the distinction, right?

    *shrug*

  204. 204
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    and the conversation is back to the thing you didn’t want to answer eariler: if not for that, then what are these kinds of stories for, then?

    Fuck you and your sniffy tone, very kindly. I couldn’t get an answer to an honest question, then “that thing I didn’t want to answer” was put to me instead of answering what I’d asked first, and this is what you come up with Jadehawk? This is just what I mean about getting crammed into a pre-determined narrative. Question you don’t like: Ignored. Non-responsive counter-question you do like: That’s the original one that you should have answered!

    Fuck. That.

  205. 205
    Ichthyic

    “…fuck me I hope Obama wins.”

    I post this because that’s the thought that’s passing through my head with every other sentence I type, even on this thread.

    just in case it is flavoring my posting behavior.

  206. 206
    PZ Myers

    My motive in this case was to highlight the evil that people do when blinded by ignorance and ideology. I do that quite often. It only seems to generate this furious “you should’t do that!” when the target is Islamic.

    It’s rather annoying. You should know me well enough by now to understand that I’m not one of those people who thinks we ought to nuke the barbarians, or wants to justify sending in a drone strike against the perpetrators. The way to resolve these issues is through education, economic uplift, and peaceful interactions. Not jingo and war.

  207. 207
    Jadehawk

    That is not an answer

    of course it’s an answer. think of it this way: if someone said “this is what culture does”, wouldn’t the reaction be something like “you’re going to have to be more specific: what culture? what about that culture?”; because it’s nonsensical to say culture per se can do anything, since culture per-se is not actually a thing, its a label for a lot of different and often mutually exclusive things.

    OTOH, saying “this is what religion does” no longer gets that treatment. that’s the difference.

  208. 208
    Jadehawk

    That’s the original one that you should have answered!

    should? no. but it’s an entirely accurate assesment to say that you didn’t want to. you still don’t.

  209. 209
    Ichthyic

    You should know me well enough by now to understand that I’m not one of those people who thinks we ought to nuke the barbarians, or wants to justify sending in a drone strike against the perpetrators.

    uh, don’t see anyone accusing you of this here, chief.

    I don’t think you’re following the actual argument.

    maybe I can help:

    It’s true. Religion compels people to commit abominable and terrifying acts normally well out of bounds of the behavior of well adjusted, normal people.

    this is a blanket statement, but is not directly supported by any statements in this case.

    Brownian was arguing that makes this a facile and knee jerk reaction.

    I was arguing that the underlying patterns suggest that this is not so, but he’s right that you did not provide any information to support the statement in this post.

    others who don’t know you from spit will indeed conclude your reaction is superficial and knee-jerk anti-theistic without providing any supporting evidence.

    so, conclusions:

    I don’t think anyone here really thinks you unaware of what the patterns have been.

    that said, I can’t see it as but constructive criticism to suggest that when you imply behavior x is linked to y religious behavior, you might want to provide substance within that post to support it, even if it’s just a link to a previous post where it is discussed in more detail.

    that’s it.

  210. 210
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    should? no. but it’s an entirely accurate assesment to say that you didn’t want to. you still don’t.

    You’re seriously going to go over this again when I explicitly stated I’m not interested in PZ’s motive? That’s not a reasonable question to ask me. It’s right up there Jadehawk. . how did your lil peepers miss it?

    I don’t HAVE to answer for PZ. I don’t HAVE to give a discourse on whether or not I agree with your assessment that “these posts are for. . .” in order to be entitled not to be dismissed or taken for what I write, not what someone else wrote.

    You’re goddamned right I don’t want to answer it, but not for the reason your needly, snide posts imply.

  211. 211
    Jadehawk

    My motive in this case was to highlight the evil that people do when blinded by ignorance and ideology.

    and other than discussing about what actually may be the source of this evil, what purpose is there in this highlighting? (this is not a complaint at you; it’s a complaint at those who don’t like it if people actually go and try to have a discussion beyond just saying “religion = bad”; because apparently, having that discussion makes us deserving of contempt by conservatives?)

    It only seems to generate this furious “you should’t do that!” when the target is Islamic.

    1)actually, no one is telling you “don’t do that”
    2)there’s some question as to the point of these specific posts, because a)anti-Catholic and anti-Evangelical bigots don’t show up to validate their fuckedupedness on those points; and b)the posts about things happening in places we can affect have instrumental value, whereas these ones, not so much; therefore, c)it occurs to some of us that the utilitarian value of these specific kinds of posts are negative (of course that could be changed, as per Brownian’s suggestion or mine, to actually be more than just validation for assholes).

  212. 212
    Jadehawk

    You’re seriously going to go over this again when I explicitly stated I’m not interested in PZ’s motive?

    dafuq? how is me pointing out that you’re not interested in answering that question not merely agreeing with you?

  213. 213
    Jadehawk

    I don’t HAVE to answer for PZ. I don’t HAVE to give a discourse

    what the fuck are you projecting into my comment? I said you don’t want to answer the question. that is correct. i at no point said you HAD to answer it, or try to pressure you into it. but it is nonetheless true that a)you do not wish to answer the question; and b)the discussion had at that point circled back to exactly that question.

  214. 214
    Jadehawk

    but not for the reason your needly, snide posts imply.

    fascinating. apparently i’m implying things. since i don’t know what these things are, would you like telling me, so i know what I’m thinking?

  215. 215
    rrhain

    Oh, and I forgot the most important point as to why we can tell it’s bullshit to claim “ethnocentrism” when someone points out that this act is disgusting:

    The girl certainly didn’t want it.

    If this were truly an issue of cultural imperialism, if me imposing my values upon another culture without understanding where they were coming from, then this girl would have been perfectly fine with what happened.

    But she wasn’t. She who was steeped in this culture just as much as those that carried it out seemed to think that it was wrong.

    So why are we ignoring her? Why is my reaction of sympathy and empathy with her an example of “ethnocentrism”?

    Exactly what sort of cultural context makes this OK?

  216. 216
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Then clearly they should kill themselves for raising such a terrible daughter.

    Indeed. If that is the opposing binary option to bathing their daughter in acid.

  217. 217
    Ichthyic

    She who was steeped in this culture just as much as those that carried it out seemed to think that it was wrong.

    not just the girl, considering the parents are in jail awaiting trial.

    Exactly what sort of cultural context makes this OK?

    examining cultural context is not an attempt at apologetics.

    it’s an attempt to understand what motivates the behavior.

    nobody here is saying tossing acid on a child is OK, whatever the motivating factors are.

  218. 218
    Anthony K

    Fuck, I’d say I’m shit at explaining myself, and maybe I am still, but Ichthyic and Jadehawk seem to understand my position well.

    I’m sorry for pissing you off Josh; you’re someone I like and respect, and I understand why you feel I’ve been an asshole as of late.

    @rrhain:

    Exactly what sort of cultural context makes this OK?

    Why, one in which children (especially female ones) are chattel. It’s been that way in many cultures, including mine, until only recently.

    We can argue that it shouldn’t be that way, and work to make it so, but we cannot pretend that valuing the lives of children over other considerations is a universal.

  219. 219
    Jadehawk

    If this were truly an issue of cultural imperialism, if me imposing my values upon another culture without understanding where they were coming from, then this girl would have been perfectly fine with what happened.

    no, that’s not how this works. seriously, think this through: do those who transgress against any social or legal rule ever just meekly accept that yeah, they fucked up, they should die now? do people on death row in the US never appeal, or were they all anti-death penalty before they went to jail?

    no, your argument doesn’t work like that. it works like this: the fact that there are people who share these murderers’ culture but vehemently disagree with their act (including the gubmint up to a point, seeing as they actually got arrested)means that there are aspects within that culture that bring forth people opposed to honor killings, and that support of those aspects and those individuals within those cultures is something different than cultural imperialism

  220. 220
    rrhain

    @Brownian: Then the girl would clearly have been perfectly fine with being dowsed with acid, knowing full well that it might mean she would die.

    Since she wasn’t, since she didn’t want it to happen, then clearly the cultural context was not present to make this OK.

    You seem to be forgetting about the one who was attacked. You talk to criminals in our justice system, and they’ll pretty much all agree that there needs to be some sort of punishment for those who break the law. They’ll even agree to the punishment that they received. That’s how we know that the culture accepts it: When the people who are receiving sanctions agree with it.

    But in this case, the girl didn’t. Yeah, there’s the corroborating facts of the attackers being in jail and one of the attackers seemingly having second thoughts, but the big point is that the one who was attacked didn’t agree.

    So I call bullshit. Your whines about culture belie something else other than your stated claim. I’m not going to try and psychoanalyze you over the internet. I don’t know you and I certainly don’t pretend to understand your motives.

    All I know is that your claim doesn’t match reality.

  221. 221
    Jadehawk

    Why is my reaction of sympathy and empathy with her an example of “ethnocentrism”?

    because your reaction of sympathy and empathy are the products of culture, and in this case obviously the culture that made you who you are AKA your culture. that other cultures can create people with similar reactions doesn’t change the source of such reactions.

  222. 222
    mildlymagnificent

    Speaking as a cultural outsider, you’ll see what I mean in a bit, I find all this a bit strange.

    Pakistan is just one of 3 sub-continent countries where all of them have an issue with acid being used as a means of attack. In all three countries the availability of acid is, in the main, one among many features of a society which has multitudes of small, unprofessional artisans and virtually no controls on dangerous substances. These societies also have large, uneducated, impoverished populations in quite large areas, Bangladesh seems to me to be doing better but that may just reflect which sources I have and haven’t paid attention to.

    America is an outlier among modern industrialised countries in its level of violence and the availability of firearms. Its murder rate is extraordinary, absolutely unbelievable to apparently similar societies – due in large part to its gun culture. As an Australian I am constantly shocked by American attitudes both to guns and to violence.

    But it doesn’t matter very much for the topic in hand. The concept of cruel and unusual punishment for criminal offences is generally accepted. Even if another country had the same rate of serious assault or murder of women as Pakistan does, we would still say that injury or death by the torture of acid in the face (or by the equally common burning oil) is more cruel, and closer to torture, than more straightforward injuries.

    We would also still say that any country with these levels of culturally tolerated violence needs a new culture, regardless of the means used to carry out the violence.

  223. 223
    Jadehawk

    crap, I accidentally deleted the line about how “ethnocentric” was a stupid word to use though, because people take it as a synonym for cultural imperialism, and how something like ethno-genic might have been less likely to trigger pointless defensiveness.

  224. 224
    rrhain

    @Jadehawk: Actually, yes. They do indeed. You talk to the people in prison and they will agree with the need for prisons and jails and most of them will understand that they did do something wrong and agree with their sentences.

  225. 225
    Jadehawk

    @Brownian: Then the girl would clearly have been perfectly fine with being dowsed with acid, knowing full well that it might mean she would die.

    that’s not how humans work. I’ve already corrected your idiotic take on this argument.

  226. 226
    rrhain

    @Jadehawk: How is my reaction of sympathy and empathy to the girl’s own culture a product of my culture? Are you saying there’s only one culture? Then that kinda makes the question moot.

    The point is the fact that I don’t share this girl’s culture and despite that fact, I’m on her side. She didn’t want this. She’s part of her culture.

    Why are you doing everything you can to deny her?

  227. 227
    Jadehawk

    You talk to the people in prison and they will agree with the need for prisons and jails and most of them will understand that they did do something wrong and agree with their sentences.

    you do know that you can’t refute what I said by refuting something I didn’t say, right?

    people on death row don’t agree with being on death row.

  228. 228
    rrhain

    @Jadehawk: No, you haven’t. You asserted something that wasn’t true. The reality is the exact opposite: Humans have this concept of “fairness” (and other animals have this sense, too).

    So now that I’ve corrected your ignorant take on this argument, how will you respond?

    [That's a hint, by the way.]

  229. 229
    rrhain

    @Jadehawk: You do know that you can’t refute what I said by refuting something I didn’t say, right?

    I didn’t mention death row.

  230. 230
    Jadehawk

    Are you saying there’s only one culture?

    lol

  231. 231
    Jadehawk

    I didn’t mention death row.

    exactly. therefore, your failure to mention death row results in a failure to refute my statement.

  232. 232
    Jadehawk

    Humans have this concept of “fairness” (and other animals have this sense, too).

    and yet, all human societies are unfair. people are culturally trained to decide what is fair and what isn’t and that’s what this instinct you talk of reacts to. claiming otherwise is silly and factually incorrect. there really isn’t an universal (or worse, “natural”) human morality

  233. 233
    rrhain

    @Jadehawk: You do realize that non sequiturs aren’t actually relevant to arguments, yes?

    But let’s go on with that: Even on death row, the people there recognize what they’ve done and agree to punishment. There’s a reason that people like child molesters don’t fare well in prison: Even prisoners have standards.

  234. 234
    Jadehawk

    Why are you doing everything you can to deny her?

    lol. I must be a very unable person, if “everything I can” amounts to merely fixing your own argument to make it more correct and effective.

  235. 235
    Jadehawk

    @Jadehawk: You do realize that non sequiturs aren’t actually relevant to arguments, yes?

    precious, given that you’re the one who’s trying to refute my corrections to your argument with non sequiturs. After all, I didn’t say anything about imprisonment (that would be comparing apples to oranges)

  236. 236
    rrhain

    @Jadehawk [trying to combine comments]:

    So if there is no one culture, the question to you remains: How can I, who is not part of her culture, be engaging in cultural imperialism by sympathizing and empathizing with her? Isn’t she part of her culture?

    Why are you trying so hard to take her out of it?

    The fact that human societies are unfair is immaterial. We recognize that unfairness and even people who behave unfairly recognize that they are behaving unfairly and accept that they must accept the consequences of their actions for getting caught behaving unfairly. What is considered “fair” may vary according to culture, of course, but we all seem to have that sense of fairness.

    I never said there was a universal morality ex nihilo. But since you seem to be saying that it is a question of “culture” with regard to this instance, then perhaps you can tell me the cultural requirements that make this incident OK.

    Because as far as I can tell, even the people in the culture where it happened, up to and including the people who carried out the deed, don’t seem to think it was OK.

    So if not even they think it was OK, what is the cultural reference that makes this OK?

    Be specific.

  237. 237
    Jadehawk

    Even on death row, the people there recognize what they’ve done and agree to punishment.

    that is very rarely true; most people on death row will exhaust their ability to appeal, postpone, or otherwise avert their death; same as this girl.
    point being, not wanting to be punished by death is not a good sign of someone who disagrees with an aspect of a culture; it’s simply a sign of someone not wanting to die. there are far better examples of internal disagreement within a culture, and you should use those if you want your argument to actually work.

    There’s a reason that people like child molesters don’t fare well in prison: Even prisoners have standards.

    they don’t fare well because OTHERS punish them. apples and oranges again.

  238. 238
    DLC

    Fuck This.

  239. 239
    Jadehawk

    How can I, who is not part of her culture, be engaging in cultural imperialism by sympathizing and empathizing with her?

    why do you think I’m saying that you are?

    We recognize that unfairness and even people who behave unfairly recognize that they are behaving unfairly and accept that they must accept the consequences of their actions for getting caught behaving unfairly.

    lol. no. what actually happens is that we create social structures that teach us why it’s right for that particular unfairness to exist. hence the kyriarchy. and I assure you, those at the top of the kyriarchy most definitely do not “recognize that they are behaving unfairly and accept that they must accept the consequences of their actions for getting caught behaving unfairly”. what a deeply silly thing to say. such “recognitionn” and “acceptance” only happens for things that are culturally framed as “unfair”; some of those things actually are; some aren’t. and plenty of unfair things never trigger the instinct towards fairness because we’ve been culturally trained not to even recognize it as fairness.

  240. 240
    Jadehawk

    But since you seem to be saying that it is a question of “culture” with regard to this instance, then perhaps you can tell me the cultural requirements that make this incident OK.

    Brownian already answered this question.

    So if not even they think it was OK, what is the cultural reference that makes this OK?

    I still find it amusing that you ask me this even though what I’ve done is make your argument less wrong and thus improved your argument for you.

  241. 241
    rrhain

    Jadehawk, darling, sweetie, honey, baby, pussycat (points if you can catch the reference), I’m not the one that brought it up. You are. It is more than a little bit humorous for you to lecture me about using a subject that emerged from your head, not mine.

    The reason I think you’re saying you are is because you have said so. Did you or did you not say the following in #221:

    because your reaction of sympathy and empathy are the products of culture, and in this case obviously the culture that made you who you are AKA your culture. that other cultures can create people with similar reactions doesn’t change the source of such reactions.

    So which is it? Is it my culture or her culture that thinks this is disgusting?

    And why do you keep trying to take her out of it? She’s part of her culture, too. Doesn’t she get to have a say?

    And I’m a bit confused: You seem to be agreeing with me that we culturally define what is fair and unfair. I’m simply closing the loop on the tautology: Fairness is defined by culture and thus accepting the culture will guide you on what is considered fair.

    So help me out here: What is the cultural scenario in which this event is OK? Her culture doesn’t seem to think it’s right because the people who did it are in jail. Even one of the people who did it seems to be having some issues with what she did. And there is the clear point that the person who was the victim wasn’t of the opinion that this was OK.

    So even the culture that justified it can’t justify it, how is it justifiable? How many times do I have to ask this before somebody answers? Brownian at least tried by saying that a culture that treats women as chattel would do so, but that isn’t the case here. Oh, the men certainly treat the women as chattel, true, but the women seem to be of another opinion and they’re part of the culture, too.

    So if morality isn’t universal (and I agree that it isn’t), what are the circumstances that would make this OK?

  242. 242
    Jadehawk

    I’m not the one that brought it up.

    you’re going to have to be more specific here, since I’ve no idea what “it” refers to.

    The reason I think you’re saying you are is because you have said so. Did you or did you not say the following in #221:

    to anyone who has any reading comprehension it’s rather obvious that nothing in that quote accuses you of cultural imperialism. try again.

    Is it my culture or her culture that thinks this is disgusting?

    false dichotomy already adressed in the very paragraph you quote

    What is the cultural scenario in which this event is OK?

    already answered by the actual person who made that statement. you may have noticed that I have neither made it nor agreed with it, so continuing to ask me about it is just silly.

    So even the culture that justified it can’t justify it, how is it justifiable? How many times do I have to ask this before somebody answers?

    the only person who brought up a point even remotely similar to that already answered (except to the actual thing they were talking about, not the straw-version you’re creating), so else who exactly do you want to answer this question?

    Oh, the men certainly treat the women as chattel, true, but the women seem to be of another opinion and they’re part of the culture, too.

    onlysome of the women, but yes. now you’re on the right track with that argument

    So if morality isn’t universal (and I agree that it isn’t), what are the circumstances that would make this OK?

    hasn’t stopped being funny since the last time you asked me.

    do you often demand from people that they defend positions they’ve not espoused?

  243. 243
    rrhain

    @Jadehawk:

    to anyone who has any reading comprehension it’s rather obvious that nothing in that quote accuses you of cultural imperialism.

    Oh, so when you said:

    because your reaction of sympathy and empathy are the products of culture, and in this case obviously the culture that made you who you are AKA your culture. that other cultures can create people with similar reactions doesn’t change the source of such reactions.

    You weren’t referring to culture in general? Because the phrase “products of culture” seems to be a reference to culture in general to anyone who has any reading comprehension.

    Or perhaps you’re tying to say that you weren’t referring to my culture. After all, you don’t know me…for all you know, that girl and I used to be neighbors and thus share the same culture. But then, how to explain “the culture that made you who you are AKA your culture” seems to be a specific comment about my culture.

    So help me out here, since apparently I don’t have any reading comprehensions. How is it “products of culture” doesn’t mean, you know “products of culture”? How does “your culture” get interpreted to mean something other than my culture?

    So since you are making comments about cultural imperialism, since you directly stated that it is only my culture that is leading me to conclude this, then you are absolutely the one to ask:

    If it’s only my culture that’s making me conclude this act to be disgusting, what other cultural reference is there that would think this is OK? It certainly isn’t a culture that considers women to be chattel because even that culture seems to think that it’s wrong: The people who did it are in jail, one of the perpetrators seems to be having second thoughts, and the other major player in the event is very much of the opinion that it was wrong.

    So if even the culture that supposedly justifies it can’t justify it, who is it that my reaction that this is disgusting simply a reaction that based on “products of my culture”?

  244. 244
    Old At Heart

    Sure, women may suffer quite a bit because of their gender, but men suffer too!

    Wait, sorry, wrong thread. Let me start again:

    Sure, Middle-Easterners may suffer quite a bit because of their nationality, but North Americans suffer too!


    …Yeah. Check your biases folks.

  245. 245
    Jadehawk

    You weren’t referring to culture in general? Because the phrase “products of culture” seems to be a reference to culture in general to anyone who has any reading comprehension.

    lol. yeah, culture in general produces individuals in general. did you miss the line right after that, though? the one that said ” in this case obviously the culture that made you who you are AKA your culture”?
    I’m actually curious. are you going to argue that it’s incorrect that you were shapedby the culture(s) you lived in?

    So since you are making comments about cultural imperialism

    I’m not, actually. you were supposed to prove that I am, and you haven’t yet. and you most certainly can’t use the assertion that I am as part of that proof.

    you directly stated that it is only my culture that is leading me to conclude this

    I didn’t state that it’s “only” your culture. quite the opposite in fact. nonetheless, it’s specifically your culture that produced you. this is almost tautologically true.

    If it’s only my culture

    incorrect premise, therefore I can’t be bothered with the rest of that paragraph.

    So if even the culture that supposedly justifies it can’t justify it, who is it that my reaction that this is disgusting simply a reaction that based on “products of my culture”?

    this is hilarious. why do you think something being unjustifiable in culture A means your reaction to it is not based on you being a product of culture B?

  246. 246
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    I confess to being a bit lost in the discussion between Jadehawk, Brownian, Josh, Ichthyic and rrhain. Obviously I need to read an anthropology text or three to get up to speed. And maybe a philosophy text.

    I might be risking chastisement, but I’m wondering if it’s okay (consistent, rational, ethical) for me to state that I think what was done to the girl was horrible, and that I know I’m making a value judgment about her parents and their culture (?), but I don’t really give an actual fuck about it being a value judgment because I just can’t find the headspace where it’s acceptable to pour FUCKING ACID on your OWN CHILD. And I’d love to see that set of values eradicated.

  247. 247
    Jadehawk

    , that girl and I used to be neighbors and thus share the same culture.

    and if that were so, you could use yourself as an example in your argument about pakistani culture. sure. wouldn’t change a thing about the fact that your reactions are shaped by the culture(s) you lived in, though.

    So help me out here, since apparently I don’t have any reading comprehensions.

    evidently. though in this case, your problem is your insistence on seeing arguments I’m not making, just because I explained their arguments to you (not that it has helped any; see: reading comprehension issues)

  248. 248
    Jadehawk

    And I’d love to see that set of values eradicated.

    rational people would. the question that was being discussed (before rrhain got confused by me explaining Brownians comments, and improving her argument by replacing a weak bit in it with a stronger bit) was what social structure creates and promotes such values. That was what Ing’s original comment was about, and that’s what Brownian’s wanting more subtlety than “religion did it” was about

  249. 249
    Jadehawk

    improving hertheir argument

    fixed. sorry, rrhain in my head sounds like Rahne (wolfsbane), hence the gendering.

  250. 250
    Jadehawk

    I explained their arguments

    “their” in this case refers to the people who have been making them; specifically Brownian, since it’s his comment about ethnogenic morals you’re so hung up on.

  251. 251
    Jadehawk

    actually, it should be -genous, not -genic. the culture is creating the ethics, not the other way round.

    anyway, I consider this a good time to take a timeout. I’m starting to make mistakes, and don’t want to spend the rest of this conversation having to fix comments.

  252. 252
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    Ah, got it! Thanks Jadehawk. It’s all starting to snap into focus.

  253. 253
    Jadehawk

    Middle-Easterners

    geography fail? or has the Middle-East now been extended all the way to the Indian subcontinent?

  254. 254
    cicely

    Also cicely, as well as I know you, I do not think you likely to make such excuses.

    I am relieved to hear it! I couldn’t believe what I thought my eyeballs (and brainz) were trying to tell me. I made ‘em go over it three times before writing out a comment.

    Stoopid, lying eyeballs and brainz.
    -

  255. 255
    erikthebassist

    But my point is that if these posts do nothing but satisfy your own sense of smug superiority for not believing in gods while at the same time provide cover for racist fucks like md, then I hope it was all worth it for you.

    qfmft

    Brownian, JW, I’m with you on this. To me, being an atheist is an extension of thinking critically, and in thinking critically, I can’t blame all of society’s ills on religion.

    It’s just not that fucking simple, and the Gnu Atheist movement often gets this subtlety wrong, as it has on the issue of feminism and racism.

    It’s wrong to use religion as a justification for behavior that causes suffering, but behavior that causes suffering is not exclusive to the religious.

    This in a nutshell, is why I think A+ is a good thing, because it’s looking past the low hanging fruit of gods and fairy tales, and seeking to apply rational thought to irrational human behavior, in all of it’s wicked disguises.

    And with that, I have spent my $.02 and am penniless.

  256. 256
    erikthebassist

    and I should have said “seeking to apply rational thought to the reduction of irrational and harmful human behavior”

  257. 257
    Ichthyic

    Humans have this concept of “fairness” (and other animals have this sense, too).

    since you don’t seem to be listening to anyone else telling you that nobody here is practicing the cultural apologetics you seem determined to ascribe for them, I chose this instead.

    I’m curious as to what examples of other species you have found the concept of fairness to be exhibited in?

    this would be the concept of fairness that is a considered one, even if based on pure quid pro quo thinking.

    not a concept of fairness arising from standard mechanics of game theory say, where it’s just that cheaters are punished.

  258. 258
    John Morales

    erikthebassist:

    To me, being an atheist is an extension of thinking critically, and in thinking critically, I can’t blame all of society’s ills on religion.

    Leaving aside one can think critically yet invalidly, no-one here has made that claim.

    It’s just not that fucking simple, and the Gnu Atheist movement often gets this subtlety wrong, as it has on the issue of feminism and racism.

    Fine bashing you’re giving that straw-dummy.

  259. 259
    erikthebassist

    ichthyic, I know fuck all about altruism in animals vs game theory, but instinctively I think you’re out on a limb here no? Don’t we have several documented examples of altruism in animals? I’m commencing on a cursory google search myself, but I’m a little bit perplexed that you seem to doubt the existence of such.

  260. 260
    erikthebassist

    If you think that was a straw dummy, then you haven’t read the thread JM.

  261. 261
    Ichthyic

    Don’t we have several documented examples of altruism in animals?

    *sigh*

    There was a point to me asking rrhain this specifically, and phrasing exactly the way I did, and not posing it as a general question.

    I’m a little bit perplexed that you seem to doubt the existence of such.

    one, it depends on how you define altruism, and two, my doubt was not at issue, since it is not expressed as such in what I posted.

    you’ve alerted the quarry now. likely spoiled my fun.

    *shakes fist*

    get off my lawn.

    ;)

  262. 262
    erikthebassist

    ichthyic, I know altruism and fairness are not one in the same, but there’s enough overlap there that I feel comfortable conflating the two.

  263. 263
    erikthebassist

    lol sorry ichthyic, I’m like the guy who can’t keep a straight face when a joke is being played, obvious social faux paus, you have my deepest regrets. =)

  264. 264
    John Morales

    With a piece of wood

    (Not in Pakistan)

  265. 265
    im

    “Yeah, where the hell are these crazies getting all their acid from? Even if I was a religiously deranged psychopath, I have no idea where I would go to get acid strong enough to kill or disfigure someone with a single attack.”

    You’d be surprised what you can buy from hardware stores in the US even, or make easily out of stuff from hardware stores, plus in a less developed country dangerous materials might be more available and used for less well-suited purposes.

    “It is ethnocentrism. There’s no two ways about it. The only reason you feel disgust at this is because you were raised in a culture that tells you such things are disgust worthy.”

    Yes, and the only reason why you disagree with genocide is because you are brainwashed by liberal culture? They KILLED her with ACID! Cultures which do not discourage killing in general are BAD. So is hypocracy.

    “Because they aren’t sophisticated enough to murder with handguns, execute with injections, and bomb from airplanes. Basically, in the feeble emotional minds of these onlookers, killing people is worse if a third worlder is doing it.”

    I am so DONE with these bizzarro-world views of the West that have hardly any consistency with how people actually think about other cultures. Torturous murder with acid is if anything MORE ‘sophisticated’ than any of the actions you mentioned, two of which are also state actions which are carried out after deliberation, and generally to help the greater good.

    “Of course these people should set aside their silly little cultures (what’s culture besides food and clothes, anyway) and tap into the universal morality that we all have floating somewhere three inches behind our third eye.”

    Not killing teenages with acid is not rocket science. And universal morality is reached through struggle and philosophy. Not to mention that the West does NOT have a monopoly on moral systems that prohibit murduring people for almost no reason with acid. We too will set aside the bad parts of our culture. The lesser sexism of the West is going away.

    “These stories, the bread and butter of facile gnu atheist thought, are meant to evoke feelings of repulsion in us, to cement the sense of the foreign Other, and then slap the label ‘religious’ on them.”
    That sounds rather Machiavellian. For one thing, I don’t think that the ‘foreign Other’ is as hateful to people in the GNU Atheism. For another thing, it’s more like evoking feelings of repulsion in us to UNBEARABLE TORTUROUS MURDER and slapping the label ‘religious’ on them.

    The thing that gets me really pissed off? Everybody seems to be pinning all their hopes on the US being analogous. Like in order to speak you have to be able to find some analogue problem in your own culture to be postcolonially apologetic about. Fuck that shit, I’m just going to say that I have never heard of anything of this magnitude happening in the US recently.

  266. 266
    im

    ” Was that reported as a story of American barbarism?”

    Usually it is, actually. Although these kinds of things are often not actually nationalized that much.

  267. 267
    Anthony K

    Yes, and the only reason why you disagree with genocide is because you are brainwashed by liberal culture?

    The short and facile answer to this dumb question is ‘yes, that’s more or less why.’

    I’m tired of having conversations which require anthropology 101 before they get useful. We do this with feminism 101, right?

  268. 268
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    erikthebassist

    Don’t need to bother using altruism as the concept, just look for fairness or cooperation. Srsly. Controlled experiments, even.

  269. 269
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    SC (Salty Current), OM 174

    I don’t believe those posts are facile.

    Even more, the example post speaks directly to the role of faith and religion as applicable here, even if the (damn fine) post had been built for a different purpose.

  270. 270
    gabrielcosta

    I know enough of geologic dating to know it doesn’t make much sense, but I actually believe that radiometric dating may reveal countries like Pakistan are still in the third century.

  271. 271
    sonofrojblake

    @NickGotts, #31: “What “apparent attitude” is that?”

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/23/another-familiar-story/

    That one.

  272. 272
    rrhain

    [I went home last night. Picking up where I left off.]

    @Ichthyic: Dogs and other primates understand fairness. Is there a reason why you haven’t done your homework? They made the headlines.

    There’s a well-publicized experiment where primates (Capuchin monkeys, if I recall correctly) where paired off, one in each cage. These particular primates like cucumber slices but love grapes. In the experiment, they were trained to exchange a token for a treat. It started with them receiving a cucumber slice and this was received very well. But then, they were paired off so that one received a grape while the other received a cucumber slice. The one who gets the cucumber becomes visibly upset and agitated upon being given something that they like but value less than the other one.

    Similarly in dogs, there is an experiment regarding having the animals perform tricks. When two dogs are given disparate rewards, the one receiving the lesser reward start ignoring the commands and refusing to perform.

    There are more details, but this should be enough to get you started.

    Is there a reason you didn’t come to the table prepared? For crying out loud, “animal sense fairness” in your favorite search engine and read all about it.

  273. 273
    rrhain

    @Jadehawk: Let me see if I understand this. I give an analysis of your statements, including the entire paragraph and giving comments on every single sentence in it, and you respond by asking, “did you miss the line right after that, though?”

    Hmm…I’m confused. I mean, I thought I did. It was the part where I responded to the line right after that. And you even responded to my comments about the line right after that, so clearly something is going on.

    You have gone on and on about “reading comprehension,” but I’m failing to see where you are an accurate judge as to what that actually means.

    Flame out of the way, back to some substance.

    I’m actually curious. are you going to argue that it’s incorrect that you were shapedby the culture(s) you lived in?

    Of course not. What I am going to argue is that I am competent to examine and analyze concepts and ideas that I have not experienced directly. I am quite cognizant of the fact that it can be very difficult to understand such complex systems as culture from the outside but just because it is difficult, that doesn’t make it impossible. If that were the case, nobody could comment about anything other than their own personal experience. Your logic makes it impossible to come to any conclusions about anything outside of one’s self, and that is clearly false by simple inspection.

    Now, because of that difficulty, it is not problematic in and of itself to question the conclusions made by people outside of the culture regarding that culture. But as in all cases, burden of proof is on the one making the claim: You’re the one saying that there is some sort of imperialism going on. Therefore you are the one who must provide evidence of such. The fact that it is likely is not sufficient. That only makes it important to examine. It is not a conclusion.

    And thus, we’re back to the question that so far hasn’t received a satisfactory answer:

    Exactly what sort of cultural reference makes this OK?

    So far, we’ve had someone claim, “One where women are chattel,” but that is merely substituting one unjustified statement with another. Exactly what sort of cultural reference makes considering people to be chattel OK? In this case, we have gone from a specific instance to a more generalized concept, but that doesn’t mean the question has been resolved. Yes, owning something as property does allow you to do whatever you want with it. It is, after all, your property. But that brings into question whether or not it actually is property.

    The big reason why we are disgusted with this is that people aren’t property. No matter how much you may care for another person, they are not objects and you are not in a position to destroy them at your whim.

    So since the proffered example of a cultural reference that would make this OK is discarded as untenable, we are left scrounging for justification:

    Exactly what sort of cultural reference makes this OK?

    Oh, and by the way:

    “Dad Competent in Attempted Graveyard Sacrifice Case” (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/49731587/ns/local_news-san_diego_ca/#.UJrNc8XA-3I)

    This in addition to:

    “Mom gets probation for locking up daughter for talking to a boy” (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/07/14984748-mom-gets-probation-for-locking-up-daughter-for-talking-to-a-boy?lite)

    And that’s just today’s headlines.

  274. 274
    anteprepro

    im, apologizing for “the West”:

    two of which [airplane bombing and lethal injections] are also state actions which are carried out after deliberation, and generally to help the greater good.

    Ahahaha. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

  275. 275
    bradleybetts

    ““She said ‘I didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t look again.’ By then I had already thrown the acid.”

    Hang on; so she turned to look at a boy on a motercycle, and her mother immediately, without even giving her the chance to explain herself (not that she even needed to in a sane society), threw acid in her face? That was it, immediate, first resort; acid to the face? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!!?

    And “It was her destiny to die this way”? No, no it was not her destiny you sick, twisted old crone; you killed her. Stop trying to justify it. You murdered your own child in an horrific manner, how fucking dare you sit there and try to bullshit your way out of taking responsibility for your own twisted actions?

    I am so angry I am literally shaking.

  276. 276
    bradleybetts

    @md #89

    “If a person of the Islamic faith denounces American/Western culture because of its sexual permissiveness particularly regarding women, is this person guilty of ethnocentrism?”

    No, they are guilty of being a massive douche because sexual promiscuity does no harm to anyone else, so it doesn’t matter a damn if it’s cultural or otherwise because the denounciation is not even worth making.

  277. 277
    Ing

    “If a person of the Islamic faith denounces American/Western culture because of its sexual permissiveness particularly regarding women, is this person guilty of ethnocentrism?”

    Yes

Comments have been disabled.