What happened to the evidence? Barry Rubin analyzes the accusations against the IDF

Today’s NYT has another brilliant piece by Ethan Bronner, using an article in Ha-aretz about damning testimony concerning Israel’s behavior in Operation Cast Lead.

Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and wanton destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army’s conduct in Gaza.

Another case of the “telephone-like” chain of transmission of indictments against Israel that magnify with each retelling. Nor is the NYT the only case. Barry Rubin has looked into the evidence, and behold, it is insubstantial to say the least. Now why hasn’t Bronner covered the much more substantial evidence in the opposite direction?

An Informal Note: Claims about the IDF in Gaza War

Here is the status of this story.

So far only two specific anecdotes have been told.

In one, two Palestinians went in the wrong direction when being directed to safety by soldiers and were killed by a sniper in a different location who saw them approaching the lines. Given the frequent use of people who appear to be civilians as suicide bombers, his orders were to shoot. This is a regrettable accident but even the accuser said it was not done on purpose. This is clearly — if it happened at all (see below) an accident of the kind that happens in war.

The second was that an officer told soldiers to shoot a woman. In the Western media stories it appeared she wasn’t doing anything and this was completely bloodthirsty. But on closer reading of the original story she was approaching the soldiers after being warned not to do so. She was probably innocent but could have been a suicide bomber.

However even this story is not so impressive. If you look at the material, note that while an officer wanted to shoot her, soldiers argued with him, which hardly sounds like some militaristic savagery. Moreover it was not clear that she was shot in the end, merely that there was an argument over whether to shoot someone who was approaching soldiers in a suspicious way.

The only other specific statement cited was by a soldier who said he objected to the rules of engagement that said when you enter a place you believe might be dangerous you kick in the door and shoot anyone who appears unless it is immediately apparent they are not a threat. This is standard practice among armies in such situations and is even standard for American police forces. In addition, even this soldier gave no example of any civilian killed in this situation.

But wait, there’s more! On further investigation by the media here, two specific sources were identified as the source of these stories:

1. A soldier, identified by name in the Israeli media, who said that he did not witness these events but heard them as stories or rumors. In short, there is no evidence that either of these things actually happened at all.

2. A soldier known for extreme left-wing activity, also identified by name, who previously authored an anti-Israel article in a book with a preface by Noam Chomsky is the other source.

3. So far no date, places or names have been given even to give any basis for believing that either of these incidents even happened.

This does not prove that nothing bad happened or that every Israeli soldier acted properly every day. But it shows the media coverage of this story is typical of the kind of eagerness to bash Israel and to misrepresent things. It also does testify to the high moral level and care given to doing things right by the great majority of Israeli soldiers.

The better articles, like that of Ethan Bronner — who I attacked in a previous post about another story but deserves credit here — pointed out that there was a real dilemma about how much to risk soldiers’ lives to protect civilians. What do you do if someone who appears innocent keeps walking toward you and refuses to halt? Do you shoot or try to walk up and talk to them, risking getting blown up or killed by an enemy sniper?

This is why, by the way, international regulations forbid the use of civilians as human shields or belligerents dressing in civilian clothes: because if that happens the chance of innocent civilians getting killed goes sky high. And it is clearly Hamas’s policy to use civilians and civilian clothes and homes in these ways to court the death of civilians both to protect their gunmen and to bring favorable propaganda. The media generally shows little interest in such stories.

To cite only one example, a Palestinian ambulance driver said in an interview how Hamas fighters made him transport them at gunpoint. Not only does this tie up ambulances supposed to be used for genuine wounded people but it makes soldiers know they might need to fire at an ambulance after gunmen jump out and start shooting at him.

Meanwhile, much of the media uncritically repeated stories that were either wrong or outright Hamas propaganda on many occasions, including casualty figures that came from Hamas supporters but were treated as fact. What is most disturbing is that lessons are not drawn from previous experiences. In Lebanon in 2006, for example, the media reported that all Lebanese casualties were civilians until it was shown that this was far from the truth. As Richard Landes and others have shown, atrocity stories are often carefully produced without any basis in fact. (The Dura case, see an earlier post, the so-called Jenin massacre, etc).

As of this moment, regarding both the 2006 Lebanon war and the Gaza war, there is not a single documented case of Israeli soldiers violating international regulatiions regarding war or IDF standards.

361 Responses to What happened to the evidence? Barry Rubin analyzes the accusations against the IDF

  1. noam says:

    I wonder what will it take to convince you that there IS something wrong with the IDF’s conduct in Gaza and in the West Bank. We heard these stories from the media, the Palestinians and the UN during the Gaza campaign. Every time you found a way to say it’s anti-Israeli propaganda, maybe anti-semitism. Now the soldiers themselves are talking. Note that the publication in Haaretz was from a closed event at a pre-army college. No reporters there, no one even asked the soldiers to speak about war crimes. They just did, at their own will.

    Did you see the writings on the walls in Gaza?

    Did you see the shirts the soldiers are printing, praising the killing of women and children? (if not, take a look):

    what will be considered a conclusive evidence for you?

  2. oao says:

    noam the troll strikes again.

    I would refer him to this piece by melanie phillips about “israeli soldiers talking“, but it would be a waste of time, as he is too intent on finding faults with israel and nothing will dissuade him, even evidence to the contrary.

  3. JD says:

    “To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls,”

    This doesn’t pass the smell test. Note it does not sound like personal eyewitness testimony. There was a left wing panic about a photo with “death to the arabs” written in English, but seemed to be just photo propaganda put up by Hamas. The need to label Israelis as genocidal is especially important to left wing anti-semites because relativism demands it given Hamas is so open about it.

    Like all stories, these Haaretz-shaped reports will be shown to be exaggerations, 90% sure on past history.

  4. oao says:

    except for the noams of the world who have already made up their mind about it and they hang onto every israel accusation MSM hacks dump.

  5. Fat Man says:

    “the media, the Palestinians and the UN”

    Well, there are good sources of unbiased information.

    “And you believed them?”

  6. oao says:

    “And you believed them?”

    Sure, because it fits his worldview.

  7. noam says:

    I gave the link in Hebrew; here is the link to the shirts’ article in English:

  8. [...] attention around the world. Even Jeffrey Goldberg got worried. However, there are always those who will refuse to believe there is anything wrong with the actions of Israel, the IDF and the [...]

  9. Lorenz Gude says:

    I read the original Haaretz articles and they have a certain plausibility. I did not reject them immediately but did discount them because of the source and the context. By the context I mean that I think Israel did a bit better in the Information War than in 2006, so the anti Israel left needs to repair their narrative. What better than material that claims to come from Israel soldiers? When I finished reading it I thought it sounded like an account of a fairly common urban combat situation that had been shaped to maximize its anti Israel impact. Of course the prestigious (like that prestigious Palestinian polling organization of a couple of post ago) NY Times picking up the original report and further shaping it for their audience is a key technique in narrative building. It is like the telephone effect mentioned above, but it is professional propagandizing not innocent rumor mongering. I have no idea if there is any substance whatsoever to the story, but I do recognize the scripted timing of events. It is like watching a well executed play in the sport of your choice. The only good news is that the media is fighting a more defensive and catch up battle this time around. No Israeli missiles hitting Red Crosses Smack Dab In The Middle.

  10. obsy says:

    “Now the soldiers themselves are talking”

    “The soldiers”? Sounds like the whole IDF is talking when you say it.

    Two soldiers that haven’t been there or known to be extreme left wing …
    And that is prove enough to criticize anyone who dares to criticize biased media coverage?

  11. obsy says:

    Oh! Now “the soldier” is requesting ugly T-shirts, that somehow look like material designed to offend.

    But who would be so bad and do such dirty propaganda in such a clean conflict as the one in Gaza?

  12. Eliyahu says:

    What many overlook or forget [not only no`am of course] is that Hamas has very clearly and obviously violated a basic element of the international law of war. That is that prisoners of war need to be accessible to the Red Cross [ICRC]. Gilad Shalit has never been made accessible to the Red Cross by his Hamas captors, although the ICRC did request access [according to their website]. Now this is a flagrant violation of the international law of war, unlike the poorly substantiated claims/charges made according to the HaArets article.

    And we are always being told that international law is of the utmost importance. Why, int’l law is so important that it can overrule the rights of Jews to live in parts of the Land of Israel occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan up to June 1967. Now this charge/claim is often made although it has no basis in international law, rather the contrary. Indeed, int’l law is very often misrepresented to Israel’s detriment just as parties in civil suits often misrepresent the law for their own benefit. What these falsifiers do is to take the Geneva Convention IV’s ban on “transfer” of civilians to “occupied territory” and misinterpret the word transfer, while falsely applying the label of “occupied territory” to Judea-Samaria. Transfer means forced migration, whereas the Jews who went to live in Judea-Samaria & Gaza went willingly, even eagerly. Moreover, Judea-Samaria & Gaza were parts of the Jewish National Home juridically erected by the San Remo Conference [1920], endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922, and not revoked by the Partition plan of 11-29-1947, which was a General Assembly recommendation, a recommendation as are all GA political resolutions. Hence, Judea-Samaria & Gaza remained in the status of the Jewish National Home after June 1967. The JNH status, as enacted by the LofN in 1922, mandated that the UK foster “close settlement” of Jews on the land. Which the UK did not do [but this another subject].

    On the other hand, one of the major problems in the Shalit case is that is that the Israel govt never made Red Cross access a condition for negotiating indirectly with Hamas for his release. We don’t know if he’s dead or alive. Yet it is absurd to negotiate in that situation. In fact, the Israel govt and media should have constantly reminded the world that denial of IRCR access was a Hamas violation of int’l law. And the penalty for such a violation, since int’l law is also based on reciprocity, is that Hamas prisoners in Israel as well as the Hamas-ruled territory of Gaza could be lawfully subject to denial of ICRC humanitarian services, as well as those of other int’l humano bodies.

  13. oao says:

    I read the original Haaretz articles and they have a certain plausibility. I did not reject them immediately but did discount them because of the source and the context.

    did you read phillips’ piece I linked to?

    When I finished reading it I thought it sounded like an account of a fairly common urban combat situation that had been shaped to maximize its anti Israel impact.

    what is idiotic and ridiculous about the noams of the world is that they don’t focus on the obvious, ample, constant, intentional barbarity of hamas against israel and their own, but rather desperately cling to any rare, unreliable item about israel’s flaws trying to defend itself. it’s either moronic or immoral or both.

    i reiterate: ignore the trolls.

  14. oao says:

    this does not directly belong here, but i have written often about the collapse of education which underlies much of the problems we are discussing here, as well as the western decadence and corruption which doom it.

    here’s one type of evidence of the collapse:

    Cheating Goes Global as Essay Mills Multiply
    http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i28/28a00102.htm

    it may require a thread of its own.

    this is how the notion that one does not have to acquire knowledge or the ability to reason to achieve anything is inculcated.

    note that one of the students in the piece was in PHILOSOPHY and RELIGION?

  15. Soccer Dad says:

    When page a6 says something…

    When allegations of the IDF’s conduct first emerged, Yaacov Lozowick observed: Haaretz has just launched a series (so they say) of articles in which soldiers who fought in Gaza tell of wrongdoings. I’m linking to the first article here, and may link …

  16. Richard Landes says:

    Noam, i’ve asked you this before, i’ll ask it again.

    what makes this stuff so attractive to you? granted the tee-shirts and the graffiti are repugnant, but they are really beside the point. it would be near impossible to have an army involved in the kind of warfare in question (where the enemy targets not only your own but their own civilians), and not have some expressions of hostility to the (insane) other side.

    as for the accusations of genuine misconduct — even if they were true, how could anyone take these cases and build a case for a pervasive ethic of brutality? even if the figure of 1300 dead is true, that’s so extraordinarily low a figure for urban aerial and ground warfare for 4 weeks in the world’s “most densely populated” place [sic].

    this isn’t to say that these things are okay, or that you’re wrong to denounce them. i just don’t understand what your “tipping point” is, from regrettable incidents to pervasive attitudesn (or what you refer to as “something wrong with IDF’s conduct”). i gather it’s pretty low, and i’m interested in why, and what amount of leeway would you give to an army in a dastardly civilian-selected combat zone. or does the army have to behave at A+ levels?

    and if i could add to that question, one more: what does hamas have to do before you start talking about how it should be defeated, destroyed, etc.?

    in other words, just how large is your double standard, and why is it so great?

    and please don’t just tell me that you don’t care what others do, you’re only concerned with what israel does… (unless, of course, that’s all you have to say).

  17. Lorenz Gude says:

    oao

    No I haven’t read the Phillips piece, but at your urging I will. Second I was not saying anything in response to the troll. In that I am a bit like Sgt Schultz – I never even think of the troll! :-) I was simply saying how I reacted the the Haaretz pieces on first reading. That is, with considerable suspicion. Having now read the Malanie Philips article I agree it adds additional information to the debunking of the Haaretz pieces – in particular by outing the background and prejudices of the individual who released the material to Haaretz. His behavior resembles Enderlin’s in that he found material that fit ‘the narrative’ and then shaped it and fed it into the MSM machine at a point guaranteed to ensure its rapid propagation (pun intended).

  18. oao says:

    and please don’t just tell me that you don’t care what others do, you’re only concerned with what israel does… (unless, of course, that’s all you have to say).

    but he already said that. and even if he had not, isn’t it obvious that that’s exactly what he wants and has to say.

    he found material that fit ‘the narrative’ and then shaped it and fed it into the MSM machine at a point guaranteed to ensure its rapid propagation

    exactly. and you could sense the “i told you so” satisfaction of the troll that he found “evidence” to his preconceived notion of israel and hastened to dump it on us.

  19. Rich Rostrom says:

    Now why hasn’t Bronner covered the much more substantial evidence in the opposite direction?

    Because ‘Dog Bites Man’ is not “news”?

    I thought that was obvious.

    The racial implications are less so but clear to anyone who thinks about it for a minute. It’s amazing who the real bigots are.

  20. oao says:

    It’s amazing who the real bigots are.

    why amazing?

    often when you hear somebody constantly accusing others of racism, you’re dealing with a racist.

  21. Cynic says:

    As I said Erlanger who chose what was news for him and discarded the stuff from the “man’s” point of view, has been replaced by Bronner who is not perturbed by the fact that dog bites man even if it was a pit-bull.

  22. oao says:

    Dean of pre-military academy who ‘exposed’ Gaza shooting a leftist ideologue
    http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/03/dean-of-pre-military-academy-who.html

  23. noam says:

    and the fun goes on in “the most moral army in the world”:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1073466.html

  24. rl says:

    you still haven’t answered my question, noam. what makes these claims so attractive — indeed elating — to you?

  25. noam says:

    Richard,

    calling this “elating” is unfair. I’m making a point here, and a very serious one. I am not happy with the situation. I am a Jew, an Israeli and a patriot. I wish to make my country a better place, and I fight for my believes. I wonder why you find it so weird.

    I wonder also what makes you deny every accusation against Israel, or every evidence for the corrupting effect of the occupation? Believe me, the occupation is very real, and very bad. beside its effect on the Palestinians, it makes the Israeli society extremely racist, and destroys, step by step, the democratic principles of my country.

    I think that ending the occupation is the key for Israel’s survival. I wonder if you are aware of the long term danger to Israel resulting from your support of the occupation.

  26. E.G. says:

    Oh la-la! Noam is definitely settling here with more “I told you so” terrifynig pseudo-evidence. I used to think that the IDF was some kind of social service for the wellbeing of the Arabs of former Palestine, but after I saw the horrifying T-shirts and read the dreadful accounts, I can only conclude that the IDF is a military body. And not just any military body. Instead of showering those poor Gazans with yogurt and marshmellow – because Gazans, being poor, cannot afford to shoot chocolate at Sderot and Ashkelon – they use bullets and shells! How inconsiderate! How disporoportionate!

    What’s exciting you, Noam? Three unconfirmed incidents of soldiers having heard about killing a priori innocent civilians? The black insider humour? Have you been in the army?
    How do you think Switzerland would have reacted?

  27. noam says:

    Here is the thing: you can dismiss every evidence as “false”, and if it’s proven to be right, you can say it’s just one case and doesn’t mean anything, and so on. And when someone calls “death to all Arabs” you can say it’s just one person. And if you more people saying it, you can say it’s just a joke. This way you can avoid facing reality forever.

    It is a very powerful strategy, I admit.

    The only thing I can do is ask you what will be a “real” evidence for you that something is basically wrong with the IDF, or the occupation in general?

    E.G. – I don’t think that the question whether I have been in the army or not has something to do with our debate – or any political debate, for that matter. I respect the opinion of those that live on the other side of the planet, and I don’t think that I have the upper hand just because they are not Israelis, didn’t serve in the army, or any such dismissive argument.

  28. Dimitry Papkov says:

    Noam, the question is relevant. Because going to the army gives (depending on the place of service) gives you a fair understanding of the people there. They represent the society from the far left to the far right. I’d served in the IDF for many years. I’ve had close contact with many battle units. I have never seen one man express the feelings you ascribe to people. Maybe I was lucky, but I doubt it. I also had seen the rules of engagement and the care taken not to hit innocents first hand. Granted, this was routine activity, not all out war, but I doubt it changed people all that much.
    The IDF ultimately represents the whole israeli society. And it would be really hard to claim that the “all arabs must die” is anything but a fringe in the society in general.

  29. E.G. says:

    Sorry Noam,

    Your military service in the IDF is very relevant to the discussion (if you call your systematic avoidance to reply to questions and comments addressed to you “a debate” better check a dictionary): it might provide you with some valuable context, such as daily life in a unit.

    Regarding evidence, I (or anybody with a drop of critical thinking) don’t call hearsay reliable evidence. Full testimony, corroborated, will convince me. I don’t see why I – or you – should get hysterical because of a journalistic hurricane in an espresso cup.

  30. Dimitry Papkov says:

    I would also add to E.G’s point that you really need to put context by comparing how widespread such things are to other armies and other conflicts. You don’t conclude based on Abu Gralib that this is standard US military protocol

  31. obsy says:

    Noam,

    after you have already demonstrated your knowledge of avoiding strategies and explicitly tried to teach us some, I have a question for you too:

    The only thing I can do is ask you what will be a “real” evidence for you that something is basically wrong with you, or the left wing in general?

    I admit that this is a dumb question, because there can’t be a productive answer for this. Life is too complicated to put up a tight test case. Even if you would come up with an extremely well test, you would definitely fail to take all circumstances into account.

  32. obsy says:

    If I read through the posts again, I come up with some image like that:

    Noam claims to be a proud patriotic Israeli Jew who demands from his people (especially the army) to live up to morally high standards that no other people on the earth reach. Because when the Jews do not live up to that standards, than they will become racist.

    Very weird!

    I must think of what oao wrote above:
    “often when you hear somebody constantly accusing others of racism, you’re dealing with a racist.”

  33. obsy says:

    One last question:

    What is so moral about Noam’s claimed attitude of ignoring all Non-Jewish people?

    I would call that egoism – and I don’t consider that morally desirable.

  34. oao says:

    rl,

    you still haven’t answered my question, noam. what makes these claims so attractive — indeed elating — to you?

    we both know he’s not gonna answer it because he can’t. he’s so wrapped up in his infantile “ethical superiority” that he is blind to logic, evidence and true morality.

    he therefore is unaware of the contradiction between “make my country a better place” and suicide. like so many in the west he does not have an answer to the genocidal hatred of the arabs and he ignores the consequences of leaving lebanon and ghaza in order to stay in denial and delude himself that by leaving the wb he’ll solve its long-term problems. what he does not realize is that his solution will not permit israel to survive long enough to face those lt problems.

    there is only one thing I regret that it’s impossible:
    to do what the noams of the world suggest, but to limit the consequences ONLY TO THEM!!!! for their denial and stupidity they deserve it.

  35. oao says:

    What’s exciting you, Noam?

    that in his infantile smugness in being morally superior (which is actually stupidity) he has finally something that he can point to as proving HIS righteousness, no matter how unreliable.

    had the noams of the world deplored the barbarity of the arabs once in a while, they would have had some credibility. but they are so self-centered that they are unable to.

    which suggests to me that behind this facade of ethical superiority lurks fear, pure and simple. at some level they realize the nature of the arabs, they don’t have any solution to it and the fear causes them to delude themselves that the occupation is the problem.

    iow, they cover their fear with a patina of morals in order not to admit that they are cowards.

  36. oao says:

    E.G. – I don’t think that the question whether I have been in the army or not has something to do with our debate

    e.g., i think you got the answer, no?

    and the sheer fact that he does not see what army service has ANYTHING to do with his arguments gives you a clear indication of how empty his head is.

  37. oao says:

    The only thing I can do is ask you what will be a “real” evidence for you that something is basically wrong with you, or the left wing in general?

    as an atheist I had many opportunities to cross swords with the religious. i always asked them the question that you asked noam first: what evidence would it take for you to accept that your belief in god is not justified”? they always said NONE. that obviated the need to waste time in having a discussion.

    the point is that like religion, leftism is secular religion and a dogma just like religion. by definition it does not require evidence, but faith.

  38. oao says:

    I must think of what oao wrote above:
    “often when you hear somebody constantly accusing others of racism, you’re dealing with a racist.”

    racists often hide their racism behind accusing others of racism. it’s similar to those self-hating gays who are very agressive against gays, like the religious pathetic ass haggard or whatever his name was.

  39. oao says:

    I would call that egoism – and I don’t consider that morally desirable.

    that’s why he is trying to obscure it with the patina of morality.

  40. RfaelMoshe says:

    In recent times, its been my experience, that in conversations with “progressives” and Israel haters,that the words, “racist” and “fascist” no longer have meaning, but are used to trump a discussion/debate which they are losing. The Arab-Israeli conflict becomes far less understandable if one insists on filtering it through other nations un-related experiences. The American obsession with “race” and color simply doesn’t provide a meaningful analogy for the situation between Jews and Arabs. A more harmful, and even less applicable analogy often made by less educated American “progressive” Israel haters is to the Native Americans’ situation, as if this time, the Jews are the cowboys and the Palestinians, “the Indians.” They seem to be able to hold this idea at the time time as knowing that the Arabs came from elsewhere, long after the Jews. . Sometimes it feels like these “progressives” are attempting to work off some of their personal guilt over their ancestors’ conduct towards others.

  41. E.G. says:

    Noam,

    Would you care to enlighten us with some of your patriotic knowledge?
    In your judgement,
    a. What is the frequencey of “death to the Jews/Israel” expressions in Arab society (media included) vs. “death to the Arabs/Palestinians” in Israeli society?

    b. Is there a relation and, if yes, what kind, between the Oslo accords and the occupation?

  42. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Erlanger has been compensated for his troubled years in the ME: he’s having a great life in Paris. Of course, it would have been nicer if the economic situation were different, but it’s still a lot nicer to cover Eurabisation than “hard” Jihad.

  43. oao says:

    speaking of ethics, there’s some relevance to this somewhere inside this:

    An Ethicist’s Brutish Compassion
    http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/03/an-ethicists-brutish-compassion/index.shtml

  44. oao says:

    Ashkenazi: IDF – Still World’s Most Moral Army

    Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi addresses serious allegations of IDF misconduct, says Israel’s army “the most moral in the world.”

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130574

  45. oao says:

    Britain’s Guardian plays prosecutor, judge and jury; convicts IDF of ‘war crimes’: Part 3 of 3
    http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/03/britains-guardian-plays-prosecutor_3320.html

    Britain’s Guardian plays prosecutor, judge and jury; convicts IDF of ‘war crimes’: Part 2 of 3
    http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/03/britains-guardian-plays-prosecutor_24.html

    Britain’s Guardian plays prosecutor, judge and jury; convicts IDF of ‘war crimes’: Part 1 of 3
    http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/03/britains-guardian-plays-prosecutor.html

  46. oao says:

    In recent times, its been my experience, that in conversations with “progressives” and Israel haters,that the words, “racist” and “fascist” no longer have meaning, but are used to trump a discussion/debate which they are losing.

    routine old technique.

    it is acceptable to stake such claims based on empirical evidence to support them. when they are made without any evidence, then it’s a technique to stifle criticism when they have no evidence.

    The American obsession with “race” and color simply doesn’t provide a meaningful analogy for the situation between Jews and Arabs.

    it can be understood in the context of the anti-west left, which has lost the internal socioeconomic battle with “capitalism” and has bastardized the left dogma by extending it to new oppressed: 3rd world, rather than the internal proletariat. israel is an arm for the west, hence they are oppressors.

    Sometimes it feels like these “progressives” are attempting to work off some of their personal guilt over their ancestors’ conduct towards others.

    that’s the 2nd and related dimension.

  47. oao says:

    but it’s still a lot nicer to cover Eurabisation than “hard” Jihad.

    care to guess what his angle will be covering eurabisation?

  48. oao says:

    somebody should ask noam if this is the result of occupation too, and if it is, should israel return the land too:

    Today’s ‘Flag March’ Summarized in Two Pictures
    http://myrightword.blogspot.com/2009/03/two-pictures-tell-todays-flag-wave.html

  49. noam says:

    Dimitry Papkov, E.G., oao –

    What I like about the net is that we can have a democratic debate here: we don’t judge people by who they are, but rather discuss what they say. That’s why I don’t like to discuss my resume – and I don’t ask about yours.

    However, since you hint that I didn’t serve in the army – and that’s why my judgment of Israel is distorted: I served four and a half years in an infantry unit, as a soldier and as an officer. I did two full tours in South Lebanon, and I’ve been to Gaza and every West Bank city but two. Currently I am a captain and a platoon commander at a civil defense unit. In fact, my next call is in two months from now. I live in Israel and consider myself very well informed (you can check out my blog to see that).

    But I still don’t think that it makes my judgment better – or worse – than yours.

  50. obsy says:

    Guess who wrote this:

    “At this point, I oppose any sort of boycott on Israel for the following reasons:

    1. The double standards argument: There are regimes just as bad as the Israeli occupation, and some even worse.”

    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=653

    It was Noam, three weeks ago.
    Now, I feel somewhat taken on a ride.

    Everyone argued again and again with Noam only to find out that he is a troll after all. Probably laughing his head of with every comment and article that we dedicated to him.

  51. oao says:

    Everyone argued again and again with Noam only to find out that he is a troll after all.

    told you so at 1st post.

  52. noam says:

    obsy,

    There is no contradiction: the fact that there are regimes that are as bed as the occupation, possibly even worse, doesn’t mean that we should accept the occupation.

  53. noam says:

    just as bad, not bed..

  54. oao says:

    What I like about the net is that we can have a democratic debate here: we don’t judge people by who they are, but rather discuss what they say. That’s why I don’t like to discuss my resume – and I don’t ask about yours.

    bullshit.

    1.
    nobody has asked you for resume. they asked you a question about your experience directly in an area on which you were pontificating about without any clue about it.

    now: either you did serve, in which case you’re either blind or dishonest, or both; or you did not, in which case you should not put so much faith in your knowledge of the IDF based solely on the anti-israel MSM.

    2. as others have pointed out you are NOT debating.
    you are making declarations devoid of evidence, asking us to agree to them only because you are, oh, so moral and patriotic. and when you are invited to debate by providing evidence, you fail to respond.

    it won’t work here. don’t waste our time.

  55. oao says:

    However, since you hint that I didn’t serve in the army – and that’s why my judgment of Israel is distorted: I served four and a half years in an infantry unit, as a soldier and as an officer. I did two full tours in South Lebanon, and I’ve been to Gaza and every West Bank city but two. Currently I am a captain and a platoon commander at a civil defense unit. In fact, my next call is in two months from now. I live in Israel and consider myself very well informed (you can check out my blog to see that).

    then your problem is much more serious than i thought. no wonder israel is in trouble if it has the likes of you in its IDF.

    if you served for such a long time, how come you don’t provide here direct evidence to defend your positions, rather than rely on questionable crap from the MSM? I can guess why.

    it is reasonable to be concerned with the problematics of israel’s existence in the long run. your problem is that you attribute them 100% to israel while they’re 905% by the arabs. there is NOTHING israel can do to satisfy the arabs, short of committing suicide.

    given the arab genocidal barbarity it’s actually a miracle that most of the israelis did not develop a similar hatred of the arabs. it is THAT you should focus on. that you focus on those few israelis who exhibit such hatred and blame them for israel’s problems suggests serious limitattions on your part, to the degree that it’s simply a waste of time to respond to you.

  56. oao says:

    But I still don’t think that it makes my judgment better – or worse – than yours.

    to me it looks like you LACK ANY judgment, that’s the problem. that’s quite visible in your lack of ANY substantive response to any of the challenges we posed to you.

  57. Ray in Seattle says:

    Yes, well much of every comment here is an opportunity to state/display one’s beliefs – including Noam, who does a good and consistent job of it. I disagree with Noam, but I doubt he is being dishonest.

    Emotional beliefs have very tangible effects. They are the controlling factor in this discussion. This thread is proof of that if you can step back from it and see what’s happening.

    If you want to actually reach relevant conclusions and admit to them (or have your adversary admit to them) then you must accurately identify those top-level controlling beliefs and directly confront them – if you are up to that.

    As it is, you are all dealing with lower level beliefs that are not subject to change unless the controlling beliefs above them are dealt with first. People will completely ignore the most obvious evidence against their assertions with no cognitive dissonance penalty in such situations. They will continue to honestly believe they are absolutely right and you are absolutely wrong.

    Read back the comments in this thread looking for the beliefs peeking through the rhetoric. And remember, what people say directly about their beliefs is seldom truthful. Being truthful about one’s beliefs makes them vulnerable to attack – so they will tell you something else that’s easier to defend – or ignore you and attack your assertions. And in many cases people have never concretized their highest level beliefs. They only exist to provide emotional direction to their behavior – which is the evolutionary important part anyway.

    And it is the emotional strength of beliefs to control what one sees and how one interprets events that gives their beliefs away – not their words.

  58. noam says:

    to me it looks like you LACK ANY judgment, that’s the problem. that’s quite visible in your lack of ANY substantive response to any of the challenges we posed to you.

    oao,

    I find it hard to answer everyone here, since I am greatly outnumbered. I tried to do it once before, but the debate went everywhere until I just couldn’t keep up with it.

    Your own comments toward me, however, have a very violent nature to them. I don’t think you are interested in a debate at all, so I don’t feel like answering.

  59. oao says:

    I find it hard to answer everyone here, since I am greatly outnumbered. I tried to do it once before, but the debate went everywhere until I just couldn’t keep up with it.

    yeah, i know, it’s hard when you face so many knowledgeable and reasoning people who see through your deficiencies. you’re probably used to the echo chmbers of the left and the west.

    don’t answer every one. answer rl. he has asked you twice. but if you can’t support your positions
    here, why do you claim this is a debate?

    you may also want to think why, if you’re so right, there is nobody here who agrees with you.

    Your own comments toward me, however, have a very violent nature to them. I don’t think you are interested in a debate at all, so I don’t feel like answering.

    as paratrooper captain in IDF you should have a more accurate notion of what violence is. you seem to be implicitly excusing arabs for their PHYSICAL violence more than you’re willing to accept my verbal “violence”.

    It’s these types of nonsense and inconsistencies that prevent me from taking you seriously.

  60. oao says:

    I disagree with Noam, but I doubt he is being dishonest.

    yup, which is why i find him limited and not worth responding to.

    They will continue to honestly believe they are absolutely right and you are absolutely wrong.

    which is why I find it useless to argue to those who are capable of that. i have drastically changed my mind when I was offered evidence and reasoning that I was wrong. the problem with noam here is that he does not provide evidence or reasoning, while others here do for theirs. so pls don’t lump us all with him.

  61. oao says:

    Your own comments toward me, however, have a very violent nature to them. I don’t think you are interested in a debate at all, so I don’t feel like answering.

    as a paratrooper captain in IDF you should have a much more accurate notion of violence. here’s one example:

    Iran Considers Death Penalty For Bloggers
    http://dequalss.com/2009/03/25/iran-considers-death-penalty-for-bloggers/

    reminds of a woman in a technical exchange who was unable to sustain her ignorant position and accused everybody in the thread of rape.

    looks like you’re much more tolerant of the arabs genocidal violence than you are of my verbal “violence” or calling you limited and a troll.

  62. oao says:

    here’s another comment noam made on his blog:

    “Without the context, the debate is meaningless – we could say anything and disguise any action.”

    now, how would you describe his positions here — in context, or without it?

  63. E.G. says:

    oao,

    #52 Erlanger covers – pun intended.

    I still don’t think Noam is a troll. I maintain he’s a settler on the Augean “grounds” who tries to impose his judgemental beliefs and behavioural norms in the best colonial tradition. As far as I’m concerned, till his arrogance doesn’t make him feel like responding (see #63) to questions and factual comments, in order to participate in a debate worthy of its name, there’s no point in addressing his remarks beyond the refutation/disagreement level.

  64. obsy says:

    oao,

    noam’s position here seems to deny the relevance of context at all. Most comments I remember sounded like this:
    “Imagine that we were not in the current situation, but if things were like that … Then your position would be wrong. Therefore your position is wrong in the current situation too.”

    Btw: In his blog, noam sounds more like a human being. Like a detestable left winger, but still human. In our comments section he is utterly destructive.

    Actually, that is consistent. After all, Richard Landes is personally endangering Israel – or in Noam’s words:
    “I wonder if you are aware of the long term danger to Israel resulting from your support of the occupation.”

    You shouldn’t have cared about the truth concerning Al Dura, Mr Landes. After all that truth endangers the peaceful dreams of Israeli moralists.

  65. obsy says:

    Ray,

    good point. I have to confess that I am extremely offended since I read Noam’s comment bait – which sounded something like that:
    “You could beat me easier, if you were willing to condemn the settlers.”

    It’s divide and conquer. An especially dangerous game in honor-shame-cultures!

    Also it targets the weakest part, the one that lives the hardest lives, that gets the most critic and bad will from all over the world. Again something highly immoral that Noam is up to.

    And again, it totally rejects any data we collected from the past in favor of romantic theories that have been proven wrong again and again for the Palestinians.

    It’s like those left wingers that don’t care that communism has been proven wrong again and again, and say: “But this time it will work.”

  66. Eliyahu says:

    Noam says that there are “regimes just as bad as the Israeli occupation, and some even worse.”

    This word “worse” is really too soft, too relative, to describe the utter evil of the regime in the Sudan compared with Israel, or even compared with Pakistan, for example. Mass murder perpetrated by the Muslim north [arabized and islamized] on the tribal Africans in the south has been going on for more than fifty years, albeit there was an 11-year truce [a relative truce as befits an Islamist regime, like Hamas' "truce" with Israel] between 1972 and 1983. Millions have been slaughtered. This was before Darfur [in the west of Sudan] came into the news. In all those years before Darfur, the Sudan never became a big issue for the Western press. The central govt of Sudan claimed that they had to suppress a rebellion in the south. But nobody in the West that I know of spoke or wrote about “proportionality.” IN other words, the mass slaughter perpetrated by the Islamist pan-Arabist govt of Sudan was not considered “disproportionate” to the provocation of a rebellion. Now, Noam ought to know about these events, which are truly horrendous, but he doesn’t think it right to intervene. Calling Israel’s alleged “occupation” of Judea-Samaria the the “worst” situation in the world is either insane or parroting propaganda slogans or just being cynical. Which is it, noam? And it’s not a merely a problem of the regime, noam. After all, al-Bashir has mass support among the Arabs and arabized Muslims in the country. I think about a million Sudanese came out to support him after the ICC indicted him for war crimes.

    Anyhow, noam, since your Hamas and Fatah dears have both been cozy with the genocidal Khartoumn regime, does that reflect on what they might do to the Jews? Does the Western MSM’s tolerance of the Sudan genocide reflect on how they might or already respond to Arab genocide against Jews? Indeed, the UK set up the situation by making Sudan into a unitary state upon independence, instead of a federation or two or three states.

  67. E.G. says:

    I think this editorial
    quite well sums up the situation.

  68. E.G. says:

    According to Haaretz, the IDF investigation into Gaza death toll lists more than 600 Hamas men and 309 uninvolved civilians killed during Cast Lead. Another 320 are “unaffiliated” as yet.

  69. Cynic says:

    What gives with WordPress that it has taken to blocking my comments?

  70. Cynic says:

    Well that one got through but not on the other threads.
    I tried posting another link about Roger Cohen, but to no avail. Will this thread show it even if OT?

    No, Roger Cohen, No!

    Obama’s new Middle Eastern diplomacy and engagement will involve reining in Israeli bellicosity and a probable cooling of U.S.-Israeli relations. It’s about time. America’s Israel-can-do-no-wrong policy has been disastrous, not least for Israel’s long-term security.

  71. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG: The problem is that if you already believe that Israelis are jack-booted assholes who love nothing more than killing innocent Palestinians, especially defenseless women and kids carrying white flags, then of course Israel would conduct an “investigation” and find themselves totally innocent. Hardly an intellectual leap.

    There is really no amount of common sense that can be applied to change the mind of someone who has a strong emotional high-level belief in Israel’s criminality and immorality as a people – and a corresponding strong emotional belief in Arab/Palestinian innocence. Strong emotional belief can easily brush aside all “sensible” analyses.

    When one identifies with one side against the other in a violent conflict the brain becomes a weapon in that conflict; it can’t possibly be an objective observer. This has nothing to do with intelligence, education or thinking skills. As far as the brain is concerned it’s about surviving by destroying the human enemy. It’s how we are wired. Noam’s brain has simply chosen the other side in this conflict. Whether he knows it or not, Israel’s destruction is now what his brain seeks.

    Actually, I think many Israelis subconsciously believe that the best outcome for Jews would be permanent diaspora in the West, esp. N. America with the ME – sans Israel – left to the Arabs. Some, like Noam, consciously work for that end.

    The problem with not identifying with one side or the other is you have to consider the possibility that Noam’s unstated goal is right. But doing that weakens resolve and leads to defeat in war. Objectivity regarding the enemy’s justification is the enemy of survival once the bullets start flying. The utter and inhumane destruction of the enemy must become the unquestioned goal – or, you will become the loser in the ultimate battle for DNA supremacy that all species must either successfully manage to their benefit or become extinct.

    Therefore, discussing violent conflict in terms of reason and objectivity is beside the (evolutionary) point.

  72. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    Well, I’d couch it differently but we basically agree. Noam has forgotten to disclose his militant activities – see N° 204 in the “refuseniks” list for example. Gives a specific meaning to patriotism.

    Therefore, discussing violent conflict in terms of reason and objectivity is beside the (evolutionary) point.

    If that’s what you think/believe, it’s fine with me. I’m one sided, which doesn’t prevent me from being highly critical about my side – but I’d never claim to be objective. I do think I’m able to discuss things using as much reason as possible, seek evidence, and consider it according to some objective yardsticks.

    It’s the latter operation that is most annoying with those intoxicated like/by Noam and his bunch: the multiple standards used to assess/judge an event or a situation. Often neglecting context or prior/ concomitant information, and blowing some chosen sub-sample of events out of proportion. It often results in a distorted representation of the situation.

  73. oao says:

    I still don’t think Noam is a troll.

    he is somewhat trollish, in that he does not substantiate his arguments.

    I maintain he’s a settler on the Augean “grounds” who tries to impose his judgemental beliefs and behavioural norms in the best colonial tradition.

    i suspect that his judgemental beliefs and behavioral norms are a way to obscure fear. israel is prisoner to the arabs’ siege so he went native and bought their narrative: their grievances must be right and the only way to be free is to do what they want, because there is nothing than can be done about them. in a sense he is looking for lost keys not where he lost them, but where is light. but he obscures it by wrapping it in morals.

  74. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    My compassion. I WAS wondering where your comments were. Hope they’ll be up soon!

  75. oao says:

    noam’s position here seems to deny the relevance of context at all.

    precisely, which is why I quoted him. this blatant inconsistency between what he professes and what he does is an indication of limitations serious enough to not take him seriously.

    It’s like those left wingers that don’t care that communism has been proven wrong again and again, and say: “But this time it will work.”

    because they’re morally wrapped in that and admitting failure is too big to be able to survive it.

  76. oao says:

    Actually, that is consistent. After all, Richard Landes is personally endangering Israel – or in Noam’s words:
    “I wonder if you are aware of the long term danger to Israel resulting from your support of the occupation.”

    see my explanation about fear above. his problem is that he has blinded himself to the short term danger of his solution. iow, he wants to avoid the lt danger by incurring short term danger.

  77. [...] What happened to the evidence? (zitiert und kommentiert diese Analyse); deutsche Übersetzung – The Ha’aretz Blood Libel [...]

  78. oao says:

    Mass murder perpetrated by the Muslim north [arabized and islamized] on the tribal Africans in the south has been going on for more than fifty years

    where do muslim NOT perpetrate murder? in all their own countries as well as any country they are living in e.g. thailand, philippines, somalia. noam simply does not care about those and blinds himself to their relevance to the a-i conflict, because he is not really about morality, but about self-centrism.

    does that reflect on what they might do to the Jews?

    MIGHT????????? you mean what they DO.

  79. oao says:

    Strong emotional belief can easily brush aside all “sensible” analyses.

    fine. but what is important is to understand what drives some so strongly to emotional traps that blind them to reality, and not others. to just reiterate “emotionally driven” does not progress understanding. i raised a hypothesis above. if you have alternatives, let’s hear them.

    It’s the latter operation that is most annoying with those intoxicated like/by Noam

    it’s a form of egotism: i am better than the rest, i am so moral, i am the real patriot. i would bet there is a lot of insecurity involved.

  80. noam says:

    EG,
    I don’t hide the fact that I refuse to serve in the West Bank (though I continue to serve in the IDF, and for some reason, they continue to call me), nor that I did time in military prison because of that. after all, I gave here the link to the my blog, and signed my comments with my real name.

    Ray,

    Your comments are very interesting, but I don’t know why you think I don’t wish to live in Israel. What drives me is the exact opposite.

  81. Cynic says:

    Actually, I think many Israelis subconsciously believe that the best outcome for Jews would be permanent diaspora in the West, esp. N. America with the ME – sans Israel – left to the Arabs.

    Ray,

    I don’t know so much about “many”.
    I do know of a person who left the States and a very large salary to come back and when asked why, how he replied “because here I can think and create, there I was just filling a chair”.

    If one studies the people one will find that the zeitgeist will evaporate on leaving.
    The cultural trimmings of Israeli life will be no more and they will lose that spark that has been so predominant in creating their success these past 60, official, years.
    A diaspora culture no matter where will not permit them their free, out of the box thinking, and will eventually stifle the vibrancy of their lifestyle. Not to mention the pressures against living their tradition openly (traditional practices normally accepted as secular – hiloni in Israel are religious to those outside).
    Maybe NY will accommodate them in a multiculti sandboxed virtual space, but I doubt that other regions will permit them much latitude.
    I of course am being subjective in that having lived and worked on several continents never really “felt at home” after leaving home.
    I think that Some, like Noam, consciously work for that end. but have no idea what it is like to live each day by the generosity of the diaspora.

  82. Cynic says:

    E.G.

    Seems that only this thread has accepted my comments.
    What the other topics objected to I have no idea.
    WordPress though does not seem to be consistent.

  83. Eliyahu says:

    oao, your theory of why we have characters like noam is interesting. But you ignore the long-standing operation of a cogwar against Israel. [I like Stu's term which I think is fitting]. Indeed, there is cogwar or psywar operating against Israel through various means, such as the MSM and selected academics and “small group organizing” [whether "leftist" or "middle of the road bourgeois"]. It operates in many countries, including the USA and Israel itself.

    In Israel, the cogwar operation joins forces with Israel’s Old Left Israelophobes and Judeophobes [even soft-liners], such as Shulamit Aloni, Prof Shlomo Zand [an old Commie], Zeev Sternhell, Amos Oz, David Landau, Amos Schocken, etc. The cogwar effort also goes into small group organizing with such bodies as “Anarchists against the Wall,” “Breaking Silence,” etc. These groups are not natural growths but rather created by external intervention. Check out their funding, while you’re at it.

  84. Cynic says:

    E.G., oao,

    “I wonder if you are aware of the long term danger to Israel resulting from your support of the occupation.”

    Now this was something that I wanted to comment about Roger Cohen when he finished an op-ed with:

    Obama’s new Middle Eastern diplomacy and engagement will involve reining in Israeli bellicosity and a probable cooling of U.S.-Israeli relations. It’s about time. America’s Israel-can-do-no-wrong policy has been disastrous, not least for Israel’s long-term security.

    Long-term, long-term

  85. E.G. says:

    oao,

    he is somewhat trollish, in that he does not substantiate his arguments.

    Why substantiate? It’s trivial! If things aren’t obvious for you, you need to progress. But a “democratic debate” is not a pedagogic situation. It’s about voicing one’s opinion and showing that the others’ are either inferior (usually on moral grounds) or lacking comprehension. C’est tout.
    The only exception to the above is delivering some “insider” information. You’ve got to believe it (because you can’t verify it, at least not in real time) and it places the “insider” in a high (authoritative) position.

  86. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG said, I’m one sided, which doesn’t prevent me from being highly critical about my side – but I’d never claim to be objective. I do think I’m able to discuss things using as much reason as possible, seek evidence, and consider it according to some objective yardsticks.

    It’s the latter operation that is most annoying with those intoxicated like/by Noam and his bunch: the multiple standards used to assess/judge an event or a situation. Often neglecting context or prior/ concomitant information, and blowing some chosen sub-sample of events out of proportion. It often results in a distorted representation of the situation.

    I am similarly annoyed as you and I have puzzled over the contradiction inherent in my view. (Conflict negates reason – yet one side in this conflict seems to me exceptionally more reasonable and morally justified than the other.) i.e. In my view Israel’s posture is and has always been defensive – the Arabs have always been the aggressors and brag of it – initiating violence against Israel, indeed usually against Israel civilians. This seems true to me by a very wide margin. It’s not even a close call.

    Yet, does Noam see the same absolute certainty in the other direction? For him Israel is the aggressor and the Palestinians acting in self-defense. His comments indicate the very same certainty.

    How do I know that my objectivity in this judgment has not been harnessed by my brain simply to justify my conclusion, the same as I accuse Noam of doing? Am I blind to the truth or is he? We are not both correct.

    Is it possible that we both are equally certain and committed to victory for our chosen side in this conflict – and also that one of us is morally right and the other wrong according to Western standards re: aggression and defense as embodied in the UN Charter – but having chosen sides (identified ourselves with one side or the other in a violent conflict) we can not know which it is?

    What is gong on in Noam’s brain that’s different from your brain or mine? Why should I believe he is more guilty of self-deception than me?

  87. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    Stop trying to out Derrida Jacques Derrida:

    How do I know that my objectivity in this judgment has not been harnessed by my brain simply to justify my conclusion, the same as I accuse Noam of doing?

    Look at the facts on the ground. Surely something must be visible for you to verify the context and result to assuage your doubts about your objectivity?

  88. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, That’s the problem. I have no doubts.

    Stop trying to out Derrida Jacques Derrida: ;-)

    Maybe I should should use DJD as my ID. Reminds me of Catholic grade school. Every homework paper had to have JMJ on the top RH corner of the page. (Jesus, Mary and Joseph as I recall.)

  89. obsy says:

    Noam,

    you probably belive that you are doing go for the Jews in Israel. I don’t believe that you do, but I have never been in that country.

    What I do know for sure because of my personal experience is that poisoning effect that Israelbashing has on the Jews in Europe. If you are really a moral (but mislead) journalist, please read the following article to get a clue of the suffering of the Jewish Minds in other western cultures. After all you write your blog in English, so your intended audience is not the Jew in Israel.

    http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2009/02/16/veronique-chemla-documente-les-effets-de-pogromes-mediatiques/

  90. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    Contrarily to Cynic (glad he’s back) I don’t think you’re “Derriding”. I’ll try to formulate an honest and readable reply a bit later.

  91. Eliyahu says:

    oao, you’re right that noam seems rather infantile in his reasoning. In order to make any accusation against the Israeli army, he ought to be aware and openly take into account what other armies do, what armies do generally. Indeed, is the “Israeli occupation” worse than the rule of the Arab-Muslim central govt in Khartoum over southern Sudan and western Sudan [Darfur]?? And he ought to also take into account what Hamas’ Islamist cothinkers [salafists and Muslim Brethren, etc] do to non-Muslims who are not Jews. But noam, in his infantile way, narrows the field of discussion to only what Israel does or might remotely be considered responsible for doing.

    Maybe noam is simply lacking in info. But he fails to respond directly to challenges by various commentators on the Stables, including the gentle queries of RL. And he fails to respond to my assertions about genocide in Sudan, which has long been supportive of and supported by both Hamas and Fatah. Now, I argue that we can infer the true nature of Fatah and Hamas from their cozy relationship with the Muslim mass murderous govt of Sudan. I think that we can infer that Hamas/Fatah would do to the Jews what Sudan does to the Blacks in the southern Sudan. This is besides our knowledge about the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Muslim Ottoman Empire. This is besides knowledge that a reasonable person –not expert in comparative religion– might infer about Muslim teachings on the treatment of non-Muslims from widespread Muslim behvior over the centuries. If we look at the history and current situation of India, of the Philippines, or Indonesia, southern Thailand, etc., we can infer that there must be something about Islamic teachings that causes mass murderous Muslim actions.

    Of course, crooked politicians like tony phoney blair and his liege-man, Alistair Crooke, would have the world believe that Muslim rebels in southern Thailand kill Buddhist schoolteachers there because of something that Israel did. Well, Muslims explicitly believe in collective punishment. That is, all Christians are responsible for all other Christians. So when the pope said that Islam was violent a few years ago, and Muslims didn’t like that, Christians were murdered in widely separated places. Some were Catholics, that is, the pope did have some influence over them, one might claim. Others were not Catholics and the pope could not reasonably be held to have any controlling influence over them. But they were murdered anyway.

    Now, Muslims also believe that “kulli kuffar millatun wahidun.” [All non-believers are one nation כל הכופרים הם עם אחד]. So, by that reasoning, if a Christian Lebanese shoots a Muslim who is trying to kill him or steal his car, then a Muslim in Indonesia has the [Muslim] right to kill a Hindu on Bali or a Catholic on Timor or a Protestant in the Moluccas or wherever. And tony blair would be right too to blame Israel if an Abu Sayyaf “guerrilla” on Mindanao kills a local Christian or animist tribesman. And vice versa. If a Filipino Catholic soldier kills an Abu Sayyaf terrorist, then Hamas can kill me here in Jerusalem. Of course, all this pro-Muslim argumentation is unreasonable and one has to question blair’s integrity for making such linkages.

  92. obsy says:

    Ray,

    if it helps you a little:

    1.In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is one side that is lying, cheating and manipulating more than I have ever seen elsewhere. So the Propalestian folks have objectively a lot more reason to doubt themselves because they build their view of the world based on that garbage.

    2.The proposals of the Propalestinians have been proven wrong by history again and again.

    3.Look at people that are Propalestine:
    The Islamists from Bin Laden to local extremist around the corner,
    almost every Muslim,
    the majority of Leftists,
    the Nazi-movements,
    every Antisemite

  93. noam says:

    obsy,

    Thanks for the link, I’ll read and maybe comment later.

  94. Eliyahu says:

    one of the ways in which Western politicians, journalists and intellectual elites have encouraged Muslim jihad generally and attacks on Israel in particular is that they have not admonished Muslims [in particular, PLO, Fatah, Hamas, and others fighting Israel] that their frank collective-punishment-of-unbelievers reasoning [kulli kuffar millatun wahidun] is unreasonble and unacceptable.

    But the West in general has not done that. In that way, the West becomes complicit in the crimes of the jihadists, whether against Israel or against the Hindus on Bali or those in Kashmir or Catholics on Mindanao, etc. And the West’s complicity –not only that of the political West– is the great danger –to the West itself, inter alia. Consider the Madrid train bombings of 3-11-2004. Spain’s govt has been generally hostile to Israel since even before Israeli independence. Franco made an alliance with Muslims in Morocco as far back as 1936 when he fought the civil war. His Moorish troops were the backbone of his army, in fact. He brought Moors/Arabs to Spain in order to fight his own people. [1960s "Leftists" may remember the song: Lucharon contra los moros, Ay Manuela Ay Manuela]. Spain’s anti-Israel policy under Franco continued under the new “democratic” govt after Franco was gone. So how do we explain 3-11-04?? There was a country with an anti-Israel foreign policy. That did not prevent 3-11. What do you say about that, Tony Blair?

  95. oao says:

    A diaspora culture no matter where will not permit them their free, out of the box thinking, and will eventually stifle the vibrancy of their lifestyle.

    the western world is made up of very lonely, conformist societies and dominant leftist elites. there is no social glue. and they’re being undermined by islamification and dhimmitude. the UK is practically a failed state, I suspect france is not far from that. and alibama, out of ideology and incompetence is destroying the US too. between the corrupt govt, the corrupt corporations and the gullible public there is not much future left.

  96. oao says:

    But you ignore the long-standing operation of a cogwar against Israel. [I like Stu’s term which I think is fitting].

    no, i don’t. but the fact is that not everybody is taken in by the MSM crap. a lot do, and the question is why. psychological explanations can go only so far.

    my take is that those who succumb do so because they have not been imparted with knowledge and ability to reason. that’s why they must rely mostly on emotions to judge reality and why the MSM crap is so effective in manipulating them.

    to respond to challenges you must have knowledge and reasoning ability and appreciate and master them. when you don’t, you rely on the media to justify your emotions, the only tool you have, without questioning. and when you are challenged you find excuses, or bring in some more MSM, because that’s all you know and can do.

    it is quite possible that I would do the same had I not received a strong education in the philosophy and methodology of science, some logic, history, etc.

  97. oao says:

    Look at people that are Propalestine

    doesn’t leave many out, does it? but hey, there must be something wrong with the jews if everybody hates them, no? this is how their logic works, because they don’t have a clue about logic.

  98. oao says:

    one of the ways in which Western politicians, journalists and intellectual elites have encouraged Muslim jihad generally and attacks on Israel in particular is that they have not admonished Muslims

    admonish my foot — as if that would make a difference to jihadis, that would be interpreted as weakness: all you do is talk, you don’t fight.

    but it’s actually much worse: the west has been APPEASING and SUBMITTING to islam. e.g.

    and alibama seems to have completely submitted to islam:

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=10762676-5947-4591-B733-98291C6BE75D

    the west is afarid even to TALK critically about islam, and invents stupider and stupider terminology to avoid offending.

  99. oao says:

    ‘War Crimes’ and Shoddy Journalism

    Honest Reporting has done their usual yeoman’s work in addressing and debunking the latest calumnies against the IDF, one in from the Israeli press, the second from the usual British suspect, The Guardian: “War Crimes” and Shoddy Journalism.

    The first involves supposed admissions of war crimes committed by IDF troops in Gaza (also addressed by CAMERA here: Charges of IDF “Wanton Killing” Crumble). The second is a response to a supposed “investigation” by The Guardian into IDF action in Gaza, also ably addressed at length by Melanie Phillips here: The Guardian goes to Pallywood.

    When it comes to calumny against Israel (or the US for that matter), a skeptical examination of the evidence is rarely in the offing. Any accusation will do.

    http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/03/war-crimes-and-shoddy-journalism/index.shtml

  100. oao says:

    this could be part of the reason for hatred:

    ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ Praised as ‘Land of Opportunity’
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130606

  101. oao says:

    While Israel is “an embattled state in a sea of Arab hostility,” the greatest sign of Israel’s success, according to The Economist, is that the “Arab countries are beginning to realize that the best way to deal with Israel is to copy its vibrant economy.”

    uhuh. let me know when they succeed.

    it’s much easier to try to destroy them to eliminate the shame that allah has rewarded the joos instead of his pious believers, to whom he has promised supremacy.

  102. oao says:

    Hamas Blames Zionists for Bad Schooling
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130593

    how can they ever progress?

  103. oao says:

    Israel on Defense against UN, Media on ‘War Crimes’

    Israel slammed UN charges of war crimes. Reuters quoted IDF Chief of Staff’s link of IDF tactics with civilian deaths – leaving out his disclaimer.

  104. oao says:

    i bet noam thinks this is a good idea:

    Report: Israel’s Direct Negotiations With Hamas

    A PA news agency reports that a chief Israeli negotiator recently held several meetings with jailed Hamas leaders. The terrorists also held court.

    israeli elite seems to have a death wish.

  105. oao says:

    jpost:

    ‘Allegations of civilian shootings in Gaza categorically false’

    IDF source tells ‘Post’ army investigations into killing claims nearly complete, says “sections of Israeli media served Palestinian manipulations.”

  106. Ray in Seattle says:

    obsy, Thanks for the help. But, I see it exactly as you do. When you or I say to a pro-pal,

    1.In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is one side that is lying, cheating and manipulating more than I have ever seen elsewhere. So the Propalestian folks have objectively a lot more reason to doubt themselves because they build their view of the world based on that garbage.

    They say, it is the Jewish dominated media that purposely create that false impression because they control the media. They say the truth never gets out – the truth that the Jews are the ones doing the lying.

    2.The proposals of the Propalestinians have been proven wrong by history again and again.

    They say, it’s because the West and Israel sabotages their proposals. See, the Israelis can not allow peace in the ME because they’d have to give up their dreams of a Jewish state including Gaza, Judea and Samaria – or some say from the Nile to the Euphrates. For example, Israel could not let Hamas succeed in Gaza so the IDF created pretexts to send in troops to attack innocent Palestinians.

    3.Look at people that are Propalestine:
    The Islamists from Bin Laden to local extremist around the corner,
    almost every Muslim,
    the majority of Leftists,
    the Nazi-movements,
    every Antisemite

    They say the Nazis are gone and the rest are right.

    If oao is right there should be some kind of intelligence tests or critical thinking skills tests that could be run to prove his assertions.

    Actually, IMO it takes some pretty incredible thinking skills (cleverness) for leftists to delude themselves and others so completely and consistently when the truth is so obvious.

    This is why I disagree with oao. It’s not education or thinking skills. It’s a matter of the high level beliefs that control how we (they) see the world. They can only see the evidence that support those high level beliefs. Anything else must be a fabrication. Even if they can’t logically refute it they know it’s wrong and it will eventually be exposed so they ignore it.

    For example, the great majority of leftists still believe that Muhammed al Dura was shot by the IDF in cold blood. If you ask about the trial where the France 2 evidence was thoroughly discredited they don’t acknowledge the significance of the trial. They say it’s just legal maneuvering by Israeli supporters and it doesn’t change their belief in Israel’s guilt at all.

    Chomsky, Walt, Mearsheimer, Carter, et al – are not dummies. They have adopted strong beliefs that control their view of the world – beliefs that are far stronger than any logic or reason they could draw upon, even in their well-educated and fluent minds.

    Their highest level belief (probably Noam’s too) is this:

    They all believe that Israel should never have been created and that Israel’s creation and current existence is immoral. How could the army of an immoral entity behave morally? It is by definition an immoral army and any act it engages in must be equally immoral. They will only see and accept evidence that supports those beliefs (what Stu calls a memeplex). For them, any contrary evidence must be fabricated and a hoax.

  107. oao says:

    The interesting thing about contemporary warfare, if the Allies suspected Germany was hiding munitions in the basement of a hospital, they wouldn’t have hesitated to reduce it to rubble just to find out for sure. The unwillingness of the IDF, and the US, to engage in Total War while their enemy is will eventually result in their defeat.

  108. oao says:

    They say, it is the Jewish dominated media that purposely create that false impression because they control the media. They say the truth never gets out – the truth that the Jews are the ones doing the lying.

    can anybody tell me how, if the media is controlled by the joos, is it so overwhelmingly anti-israel and anti-semitic?

    They say, it’s because the West and Israel sabotages their proposals.

    see my link to the hamas claim that their kids isn’t learning because of the joos.

    If oao is right there should be some kind of intelligence tests or critical thinking skills tests that could be run to prove his assertions.

    the difficulty of education is that it should start from childhood via parents, friends, schools, etc and continue throughout one’s life. the problem is that society inculcates conformity, not critical thinking.

    the advantage I had was that I was brought up in the soviet bloc, where nobody really believed the govt propaganda anywhere–in press, schools, at work, etc.
    they just pretended to believe in order to avoid punishment. in jewish families there was open distrust internally, so I grew up with a propensity to not believe public information. then I passed through a decent (at the time) education in israel and good (at the time) scientific education at Northwestern.

    now, how many in the west in the last 5-10 years went thru a similar preparation? particularly living in 3 countries — “communist”, socialist and “capitalist” -and being able to compare. not to mention intellectual curiosity to really understand the differences?

    this inculcates skepticism and prepares one for

  109. oao says:

    cynic,

    I’ve had 2 comments in this thread which did not post, and it happens all the time here — my guess is it’s some bug in the sware.

    i asked RL to post them.

  110. oao says:

    how’s this about who oppresses the poor palestinians and does not let them succeed?

    Report on the Jerusalem Wealth Management Conference.
    http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/03/most-amazing-conference-session-i-have.html

  111. oao says:

    Actually, IMO it takes some pretty incredible thinking skills (cleverness) for leftists to delude themselves and others so completely and consistently when the truth is so obvious.

    i disagree. all it takes is to rely on the media and word of mouth within the club to rationalize one’s emotions, in the absence of critical skills and knowledge.

    This is why I disagree with oao. It’s not education or thinking skills. It’s a matter of the high level beliefs that control how we (they) see the world.

    pls pay attention. what I said was that your theory about emotions may be valid IN THE ABSENCE of proper education (knowledge and reasoning skills). this is no disagreement, it’s just that your theory fails to explain why it works for some but not others.

    now, it’s possible for some educated to fall victim to it, particularly due to rewards/paunishments by their social group, career considerations or other social mechanisms, but it’s hard to accept that those inculcated with REAL intellectual abilities which also induce self-assurance, will fall for this stuff. and some evidence for this comes from the fact that the more education collapsed in the west, the more fell victim to their manipulated emotions. it’s a natuarl trend in democracies.

    in fact, the reason you’re right statistically is precisley that so few get the kind of education i am referring to, which is probably quite different than what you have in mind as education.

  112. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    I am similarly annoyed as you and I have puzzled over the contradiction inherent in my view. (Conflict negates reason – yet one side in this conflict seems to me exceptionally more reasonable and morally justified than the other.) i.e. In my view Israel’s posture is and has always been defensive – the Arabs have always been the aggressors and brag of it – initiating violence against Israel, indeed usually against Israel civilians. This seems true to me by a very wide margin. It’s not even a close call.

    I don’t hold the same view about conflict and reason (simply because I haven’t thought of it, not because I oppose it). Now that you raise it, I “see” the affective factors strongly interfering with the cognitive ones in conflict situations. Perhaps the difference lies in the two attitudes about resolving the conflict: one tries to control the emotional factors in order to end the conflict peacefully (reasonably), the other is having trouble controlling emotionally grounded beliefs and behaviours (honour/shame).

    Yet, does Noam see the same absolute certainty in the other direction? For him Israel is the aggressor and the Palestinians acting in self-defense. His comments indicate the very same certainty.

    The best would be for Noam to deign reply to this.

    At any rate, for you things seem clear, and you’re sure (no doubts, as you wrote to Cynic) about the rights and wrongs. It seems Noam has acquired about the same level of certainty. As far as I understand, these guys believe that the Arabs of former Palestine constitute a people and therefore their aspiration and struggle for a state of their own is legitimate. As legitimate as was the pre-Israel Jewish aspiration and struggle. Hence, occupying the to-be-born Palestinian state is illegitimate and morally harmful for the Israeli society and, obviously, its army. Chasing boys who participate in their national struggle is degrading for a soldier. Searching (pregnant) women is not a dignified or appropriate military task. Nor is providing security to settlers.

    I find the equivalence between the Jewish underground organisations’ actions and the Palestinian terrorist organisations’ ones totally false. At most, the Jewish “terrorist” acts resemble the ones carried out by ETA (Basque). There were no civilian bus-jackings, school attacks or Café/Pizza parlour bombings by the Jewish undergrounds. As for IDF operations in the “territories” – there’s before and after the 2nd Intifada/Oslo war.

    Unlike you two, I have a few established certainties but some doubts too. I recall driving around Belgium in 1998 and telling my companions “Do you realise that in 10-20 years we’d be crossing from Israel to Palestine and back just like we’re doing now between Wallonia and Flanders, with only a sign by the road to indicate whose territory it is?” Ten years later, Belgium is about to split…

    How do I know that my objectivity in this judgment has not been harnessed by my brain simply to justify my conclusion, the same as I accuse Noam of doing? Am I blind to the truth or is he? We are not both correct.

    You’re not objective. None of us, mortals, is. At most, you weigh evidence and arguments on each side and you end up making your judgement (and your general values, that seem rather conservative, are connected to it). You probably won’t blindly justify a blood-bath, whoever commits it.

    Is it possible that we both are equally certain and committed to victory for our chosen side in this conflict – and also that one of us is morally right and the other wrong according to Western standards re: aggression and defense as embodied in the UN Charter – but having chosen sides (identified ourselves with one side or the other in a violent conflict) we can not know which it is?

    I don’t think Noam would state he’s committed to victory (nor would I) unless, of course, discussing moral. Noam believes he’s committed to the Israeli side that he wants safe and fair (morally just). In the scenario he wished to see (2-states), he’d take his arms to defend Israel against any aggressor, including the Palestinians. That is, unless he finds that Israel provoked them in the first place and objects (in which case he risks getting killed by a Palestinian/Hezballa rocket while in military prison).

    What is gong on in Noam’s brain that’s different from your brain or mine? Why should I believe he is more guilty of self-deception than me?

    Hard to tell, especially about you two. I question, try to get evidence – preferably corroborated, tell my progressive friends to convince me… Quite a few of them sort of “regressed” during the 2nd Intifada, though.
    It seems Noam merely wants to get rid of the (moral) burden of having to care about the WB Arab population. He probably hopes that they’ll be busy building their homeland rather than assaulting Israel for Divine Victory. I don’t know what lessons, if any, he learned from the Gaza disengagement experience.

  113. oao says:

    my usual rules of thumb are:

    1. whenever large segments of the population start believing in something

    2. whenever those in power make statements

    3. and today, when academics make pronouncements

    I will question it and it will take a great deal of evidence and persuasion to convince me they are right.

    has served me well.

  114. E.G. says:

    oao #118,

    I’m ashamed to stoop to this low level but some of my best friends are very well educated, real brilliant intellects, definitely Zionists, don’t need peer/social approval for their political views – and exasperatedly cognitive egocentrics. Even those who know more than a thing about cognitive and cross-cultural factors.
    I attribute their approach to moral standards (grosso modo, post-1968) and moral blackmail exerted by the Left at large.

  115. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, You say . .

    pls pay attention. what I said was that your theory about emotions may be valid IN THE ABSENCE of proper education (knowledge and reasoning skills). this is no disagreement, it’s just that your theory fails to explain why it works for some but not others.

    Actually my theory explains it much better than yours IMO. The pursuit of truth works for some and not others – because some have a high level emotional belief in the inherent worth of objective truth. That is one of their highest order beliefs – and they are willing to accept the consequences of that.

    The consequences are that they can no longer derive the great emotional satisfaction of believing things because it feels good to them to do so. They can only believe what is supported by evidence that is objectively considered. Think of a respected jurist who brings no ideology except the ideology of truth to the court – or the scientist who follows the evidence trail even if it leads away from her pet theory.

    It takes no incredible thinking skills to do this. It does take a strong emotional commitment to (belief in) the primacy of objective truth. I think people get that belief from the admiration of grown-ups who exhibit it when we are younger – probably through our early twenties. I don’t think it is something that can be overtly taught. But, one’s culture can certainly make it unlikely that it would be acquired if there is a scarcity of role models – and the few that appear are shot.

    An aside: Stu mentioned the value of Susan Blackmore’s writing on memetics. One of her most important insights was that human minds in development are highly efficient emulating machines – designed by evolution to copy behavior we observe that inspires us for whatever reason.

    I would add: . . and in that way our minds become populated with the higher order beliefs that become our cognitive identity that will guide us through life.

  116. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, you say,

    I attribute their approach to moral standards (grosso modo, post-1968) and moral blackmail exerted by the Left at large.

    It may seem like moral blackmail from this side – but one of the strongest sources of behavior-guiding emotions in human minds is the approval of peers. Most of the pre-frontal cortex which is (relatively) over-developed in humans – is devoted to such concerns. It makes no difference how unreasonable their view may be . . it will hurt deeply if your friends lose respect for you or if you must lose respect for them.

    I have close friends I will not discuss I/P matters with for this reason. It would hurt me too much to lose them. So I engage in a form of moral dishonesty by avoiding it. Fortunately, I don’t have to do that here.

  117. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao says, my usual rules of thumb are:

    1. whenever large segments of the population start believing in something

    2. whenever those in power make statements

    3. and today, when academics make pronouncements

    I will question it and it will take a great deal of evidence and persuasion to convince me they are right.

    has served me well.

    And I question any assertion made with or defended by emotional fervor.

  118. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, BTW, by “victory” for Israel, I only meant peace and acceptance by other states in the region behind defensible borders. I’m sure that’s not how the Palestinians would frame it.

  119. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    They will only see and accept evidence that supports those beliefs (what Stu calls a memeplex). For them, any contrary evidence must be fabricated and a hoax.

    You’re describing a known, general human bias. We all tend to either consider or to weigh more heavily evidence that is in line with our current beliefs, and disregard or discredit evidence that is contradictory. It’s not specific to the I/P or Right/Left conflict. We’re “wired” to confirm rather than contradict our beliefs. An educated person (à la oao) will consider an alternative hypothesis (and the evidence supporting it) before crystallizing her opinion, and be willing (open) to keep doing so even as his opinion has established.

    A good example is the general Israeli opinion pre and post 1973 (Yom Kippur war). Before October 1973, most Israelis considered the IDF invincible. Post-war it changed to vincible.

  120. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    Yes, the Arabs/Palestinians would probably frame it as victory. The term has gone out of the Israeli lexicon many years ago.

    As for moral blackmail – it’s deeper (in my mind) than merely social approval. Revolves around Baby-boomers’ cultural revolution.

  121. Eliyahu says:

    oao and Ray disagree with each other but I think that both fail to consider two other possibilities [at least, don't consider them enough].

    1) Maybe some intellos are corrupt. Let’s take the other noam, that is, chomsky, as an example. Maybe he gets paid from souces that you might not expect to be paying him for his propaganda work. Why not check noam chomsky’s IRS return and see where his income comes from? Maybe somebody has done it already. If true, that would be pretty venal and corrupt on his part. Maybe that description of venal and corrupt fits noam chomsky. Why not check his money trail??

    2) Then we have the possibility of an organized psywar/cogwar campaign that was planned to work over a long period to slowly REshape opinions, understandings, minds [as Stu seems to describe]. Is this idea too farfetched? Consider: when the notion of a “palestinian people” came out into the Western public space in the 1960s, there were certain academics promoting it, even traveling from one campus to another to promote. Such a one was Prof. Landrum Bolling. So there you had somebody promoting that false idea. But it takes money to travel from one campus to another. Where did the money come from?? By the way, in 1946, Arab spokesmen testifying before the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on Palestine testified THAT THERE WAS NO Palestine in history, it was all Syria. Now the Arabs say that there was always a palestine.

    Are these two possbilities too farfetched??

  122. Eliyahu says:

    Do these two possibilities contradict each other? No, I don’t they that they are contradictory.

  123. oao says:

    I’m ashamed to stoop to this low level but some of my best friends are very well educated, real brilliant intellects, definitely Zionists, don’t need peer/social approval for their political views – and exasperatedly cognitive egocentrics.

    i believe you. i suspect that at least part of the difference between us stems from a difference in what we mean by education. even my decent education is not the full concept of it I have in mind, far from it. and as far as i know the vast majority of people don’t get even a quarter of what i got. that’s why i refer to them as schooled, not educated.

    I attribute their approach to moral standards (grosso modo, post-1968) and moral blackmail exerted by the Left at large.

    sure, as i agreed, many succumb to that, but only because they don’t have the skills to resist it. I have paid an enormous social price for my skepticism and cynicism, but it has never occurred to me to desist.

    i suspect there is a lot of subconscious envy and hatred of the cynics in society because at some level it is realized that they cannot be bent as easily as the rest for the advantages of belonging. that’s a strength that the weak don’t want to face.

  124. oao says:

    The pursuit of truth works for some and not others – because some have a high level emotional belief in the inherent worth of objective truth. That is one of their highest order beliefs – and they are willing to accept the consequences of that.

    this by itself is not sufficient. the real question is WHY they do and others have a lower level.

    Think of a respected jurist who brings no ideology except the ideology of truth to the court – or the scientist who follows the evidence trail even if it leads away from her pet theory.

    but WHY are there people like that? is it just a psychological difference? is it hereditary? socialization? unless you are tackling this you’re not explaining, you’re more or less tautological: you label behavior as due to higher values (btw, i am not sure that valuing truth most is not an ideology, but I know what you mean)

    Stu mentioned the value of Susan Blackmore’s writing on memetics.

    a lot of that memetics stuff does not impress me.

    i don’t think we can improve on our differences without a comprehensive definition of what i mean by education, which is exactly what instills those “higher order values”.

    but i’m not gonna get into it here.

  125. oao says:

    It may seem like moral blackmail from this side – but one of the strongest sources of behavior-guiding emotions in human minds is the approval of peers.

    exactly as i argued. you gotta be really self-reliant and strong to withstand social and professional rejection. the kind of education i am referring to is precisely what should instill that in you. that’s why it’s been eliminated, because societies prefer conformism and striving to belong to individualism and critical propensities. the price to be paid for not falling into line is huge and very few are capable of paying it even with the education. without it, forget it.

  126. oao says:

    And I question any assertion made with or defended by emotional fervor.

    often. some ar very good of hiding their emotions.

  127. oao says:

    You’re describing a known, general human bias. We all tend to either consider or to weigh more heavily evidence that is in line with our current beliefs, and disregard or discredit evidence that is contradictory.

    it’s not just bias, but i think it’s wired into us.
    which is why the work of scientists is the hardest psychologically: humans are wired to believe in what they do, that’s how motivation works. but in science you’re required to constantly question what you do (though not the endeavor per se). that’s why you have so many scientists who are not: they succumb to believing so much in what they do, that they lose the constant questioning and end up outside of science.

  128. oao says:

    eliyahu,

    they are not farfetched at all.

    but what we are discussing here is the human environment in which these things operate. the people who do the manipulation exploit it.

    as to money trails, there is mutuality going on: those sources who like what chomsky preaches are likely to fund him; ditto for carter, etc.

  129. oao says:

    In Which The Latest Libel is Debunked
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/pollak/60012

    it is interesting to note, in the context of the noams of the world, that evidence by israeli army or “right-wing” sources is not to be believed, but those from palestinian or left-wing sources should.

    consider this in light of the arabs lying through their teeth constantly and on almost everything.

  130. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG: said . . You’re describing a known, general human bias. We all tend to either consider or to weigh more heavily evidence that is in line with our current beliefs, and disregard or discredit evidence that is contradictory. It’s not specific to the I/P or Right/Left conflict. We’re “wired” to confirm rather than contradict our beliefs.

    My point is that this is not simply a bias. It’s how brains work. Brains acquire beliefs to use to guide their behavior in life and then they add intellectual support to those as they prove profitable.

    EG said: An educated person (à la oao) will consider an alternative hypothesis (and the evidence supporting it) before crystallizing her opinion, and be willing (open) to keep doing so even as his opinion has established.

    OK, here’s the crux of my view: Whether anyone, educated or not, will (or can) do depends on the strength of their beliefs on that topic. If the belief exists near the top of their hierarchy then they will be very reluctant to consider any possibility that it could be wrong – no matter the evidence.

    For example, even an uneducated person could be open to the possibility that moderate consumption of red wine is good for the heart. That’s assuming they don’t have any strong opinions about drinking. They are willing to hear the evidence and if they hear it from enough sources they will have no trouble making room for it in their belief system – although it won’t be held in place with any strong emotions. If later they hear convincing contradictory evidence they will have no trouble changing their mind.

    The same can be said for a highly educated person like Noam Chomsky. About red wine he is probably open to whatever credible evidence science brings forward from time to time.

    But, Noam Chomsky has formed his cognitive identity in life over several decades now around his strong emotional belief in the inherent immorality of the existence of and the actions of the state of Israel in the I/P conflict. From listening to him speak and reading some of his articles I am fairly certain that that belief lies near the very top of his hierarchy.

    He can not possibly accept any evidence that contradicts that core belief. The consequences for his pre-frontal cortex are very severe if he does. Thousands of people who see as an intellectual giant among mortals would reconsider or change their minds. Many of those people are his friends and his family, I assume.

    In addition, he would lose control of the hundreds or thousands of supporting beliefs that lie below that core belief in his own mind and that depend on it. He is opening himself up to a radical change in his identity to even consider that evidence. He is facing becoming a different person than he has been for decades – at a relatively late stage in his life.

    In fact, his attachment to those beliefs is so strong that he must continuously engage in public debate on the topic and must write articles to fortify the adulation that he derives from advertising those highly emotional beliefs that his followers share.

    What makes the two cases different is not the education level of the minds but the emotional strength of the beliefs they hold.

  131. Ray in Seattle says:

    BTW – I am very open to anyone (like noam) presenting objective evidence that contradicts the view that I currently hold regrading Israel’s morality in this conflict – and as I’ve explained it here. I mean, of course, on some substantial topic, material to the question of morality, such as the historically consistent aggressive vs defensive stance that the parties take as led by their leadership.

    Although I started off without many preconceptions a few years ago and was fairly open to seeing either side as the aggressor, I admit that my beliefs on this matter have acquired strength over time and now exist near the top of my hierarchy. So I must accept that I might now hold them for emotional rather than objective reasons.

    I don’t really expect anyone to come forward but I thought I should make the statement that I’m open to listen to reasonable evidence.

  132. oao says:

    Whether anyone, educated or not, will (or can) do depends on the strength of their beliefs on that topic.

    i am beginning to seriously doubt whether you have a real explanatory hypothesis at all. sounds like a mantra to me.

    the question is HOW THESE BELIEFS ARE CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! without that you don’t explain anything.

    what e.g. and i are trying to address is how people adopt their beliefs. we are not doubting that humans have beliefs, we want to know how they are adopted.
    just saying “they do it because of their strong beliefs” doesn’t do anything for me.

  133. oao says:

    not to mention how these beliefs are maintained over time.

  134. oao says:

    He can not possibly accept any evidence that contradicts that core belief.

    My interest is in how and why he reached a point where evidence is ignored. Emotional attachment is not satisfactory, even if true.

    what is interesting about chomsky is that he is very good at his analysis of US society. where he fails is at understanding ANY foreign cultures. that’s because he generalizes his leftism universally, whether it applies or not. he has a narrow, limited, leftist anti-american view of everything. he knows NOTHING of islam, jihad or foreign cultures, because they are not factors in leftism.

    so whatever emotional attachment he has to his ideology, it is only a partial explanation. he is simply ignorant of many critical aspects.

  135. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, I have no interest in convincing you that my view that our strong emotional beliefs control the conclusions we reach in life, the sides we take in a conflict and what kind of evidence we accept. I only offer this view as a framework to explain noam’s response (or lack of response) to challenges offered to him in this thread – which is where this discussion started.

    OTOH – you are the one repeating the bromide about “critical thinking skills” and “education” as being the factors that lead one to “correct” conclusions about the world – without any evidence that I can see.

    I am the one offering evidence of highly educated people (like Noam Chomsky, Walt, Mearsheimer and Carter) who hold positions that you characterize as incorrect, emotionally driven and irrational. You admit that Chomsky has reached correct conclusions about US society. Did he suddenly gain critical thinking skills for a while and then lost them when the topic switched to Israel?

    Do you have any evidence that people who have been educated in the way you deem proper – generally hold more reasonable and objective conclusions about the world or that they come to more reasoned judgments – or that those who were not educated that way come to less reasoned judgments?

    So far you’ve only asserted that those who agree with you are “better thinkers” and vice versa. Again, I have no need to argue this with you but I’m happy to hear your objections to my premise and address them if you like. But please avoid the condescension. I respect your views even if I disagree. I expect the same.

    Re: 141 – I assure you that Chomsky has been exposed to voluminous contradictory evidence at length and repeatedly over many years and by many smart people who disagree with him – Alan Dershowitz for one. He is not in any sense ignorant of the evidence – he rejects the evidence because of its emotional potency to destroy his social identity as Israel’s most profound nemesis – which he values highly. It’s who he is.

    He reached the point where he ignored contradictory evidence when the emotional benefit from displaying his belief in Israel’s immorality was consistently stronger than the mild emotional hit he got from making an impartial judgment on the matter. It’s a matter of personal integrity where one finds that line.

  136. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, this is interesting. you say,

    Where he fails is at understanding ANY foreign cultures. that’s because he generalizes his leftism universally, whether it applies or not. he has a narrow, limited, leftist anti-american view of everything. he knows NOTHING of islam, jihad or foreign cultures, because they are not factors in leftism.

    Such is the nature of strong emotional belief. It becomes the window through which one sees everything. That is no different from Pat Robertson’s version of Christianity or Hamas’ view of Israel. It is all-consuming and leaves no room for reason.

  137. oao says:

    I only offer this view as a framework to explain noam’s response (or lack of response) to challenges offered to him in this thread – which is where this discussion started.

    you don’t understand my argument. i don’t consider that a satisfactory explanation, but more a description or labeling of his behavior”:
    strong emotional attachment = behavior.

    OTOH – you are the one repeating the bromide about “critical thinking skills” and “education” as being the factors that lead one to “correct” conclusions about the world – without any evidence that I can see.

    i did not say they “lead to correct conclusions”. I said that it’s harder to manipulate knowledgeable people who can think independently and critically.

    that you don’t see the evidence does not mean it’s not there. i linked in these exchanges to ample evidence. do you want me to dump more? here’s two i came across just during my reply to you:

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/9625

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/33176_Texas_School_Board_Meeting_Live-Blogged

    are you suggesting you are unaware of the collapse of education in the sense of classics, history, philosophy, logic, languages, strong math, etc? how about academics without any credentials except political activism? have you ever watched TV programs asking questions of the people on the street?

    I am the one offering evidence of highly educated people (like Noam Chomsky, Walt, Mearsheimer and Carter) who hold positions that you characterize as incorrect, emotionally driven and irrational.

    you lump together several people which are quite different in background and motivations (chomsky is less opportunistic, for example), but i’ll ignore that. i dk what education they had, but i know from 15+ years of personal academic experience that most academics are schooled but not educated. furthermore, developing critical and indep thinking skills must start in childhood; most reach academia without any and manage to get thru univ without getting much one of the reasons i left academia was the wilful refusal by students and profs to study the methodology and philosophy of science.

    i also pointed out that it’s psychologically difficult to question one’s own beliefs. that’s precisely why the kind of education i have in mind is critical to overcome this difficulty. if even some people who got some education can fail, then certainly this validates its importance. what we have, instead, is its collapse.
    so there is no hope.

    indeed the whole alibama election is testament to purely emotion driven behavior by both highly and lowly schooled people due to no real education whatsoever.

  138. oao says:

    Such is the nature of strong emotional belief. It becomes the window through which one sees everything. That is no different from Pat Robertson’s version of Christianity or Hamas’ view of Israel. It is all-consuming and leaves no room for reason.

    regardless of how emotionally attached he is to his ideology the point is that his ideology limits his perspective. this means certain ignorance and reasoning deficiencies.

    if he is strongly attached emotionally to his ideology then yes, it’ll be more difficult for him to overcome the deficiencies, but they are there regardless of his emotions.

  139. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao: you say (yelling) . .

    the question is HOW THESE BELIEFS ARE CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! without that you don’t explain anything.

    Beliefs such as these are not original that one creates. They are part of a memeplex (thanks Stu) that people buy into (or not) when they are exposed to them. They buy in if those beliefs resonate emotionally with one’s existing higher level beliefs.

    For example, many young people adopt a neo-colonial kind of noble-savage view of the third world. They respond to understandable emotions of fairness for the underdog in movies like “Dances With Wolves”.

    A college kid – after seeing that movie or something like it – and then invited by a pretty young lady to a rally about Israel’s oppression of Palestinain women and children – would suddenly find himself on the side opposed to Israel without really thinking about it very much. It just feels so right and here are these new friends who seem so smart and who wouldn’t be against oppression?

    Then, if he is really smart, he might skillfully use his exceptional brainpower to justify his new conclusions – that result in this emotional payoff. Maybe he even joins AI or HRW on campus where he can get access to lots of supporting evidence and even more praise from this new social circle for his brave anti-establishment conclusions.

    The emotions control one’s conclusions – the brain supports and defends the conclusions. Israel is losing (has lost) the emotional war. Stu calls it the cognitive war – but I don’t think he (or many other Israel supporters) fully appreciate the emotional nature of the transaction.

  140. oao says:

    another thing noam would subscribe to:

    UN: Israel responsible for Palestinian violence against women
    http://eye-on-the-world.blogspot.com/2009/03/un-israel-responsible-for-palestinian.html

  141. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao says, regardless of how emotionally attached he is to his ideology the point is that his ideology limits his perspective. this means certain ignorance and reasoning deficiencies.

    Be careful, you are starting to get closer to my position ;-) Well, a little.

    I agree that his ideology limits his perspective. But it is the emotional potency of his ideology that does that. One can easily adopt or change their views on red wine as a health benefit – but most can not easily change their views – or even consider evidence opposed to their views – on the I/P conflict. Why is that? It is the emotional power of those beliefs.

    It is physically and emotionally painful by measurable changes in body state – when one is exposed to foreign beliefs that contradict or threaten one’s strongly held beliefs. It actually hurts. You can watch someone’s reaction when this happens. They can become ill in some situations.

    No-one becomes upset discussing the possible benefits of red wine to heart disease. It’s not likely a strongly held emotional belief – one way or the other for most people.

  142. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, I actually agree with much of what you say. I just think that what kids need to learn is the honor and self-respect earned by seeking the truth even when all your friends – or the whole world – disagrees with you.

    Anyone who learns and internalizes that will have no trouble developing critical thinking skills in life to match.

  143. oao says:

    Be careful, you are starting to get closer to my position ;-) Well, a little.

    i did not disagree with your position, I just thought it is not sufficiently explanatory.

    But it is the emotional potency of his ideology that does that.

    no. it’s the perspective itself that does that. the emotional attachment may affect his ability to modify or drop his ideology, but that’s a distinct matter.

    however, my point is that if he is not, from childhood and within society, trained to use his independent and critical skills, he is prone to get emotionally attached to ideology. i dk what education chomsky had, but i have never seen anything from him, verbal or in writing, about philosophy or methodology of science. neither do i see much of that by a vast majority of academics.

    i suspect that during his primary and secondary education he did not have any intro to comparative politics, cultures or religions. and by the time he became an academic he already developed his limited perspective. the vietnam war had a serious impact.

    I just think that what kids need to learn is the honor and self-respect earned by seeking the truth even when all your friends – or the whole world – disagrees with you.

    but what i referred to as education would do exactly that!!!!! my point is that currently there is NO such thing at all and so the consequences are obvious and will doom the west

  144. oao says:

    i’ll just dump a few more collapsed education links as i come across them:

    http://ker-plunk.blogspot.com/2009/03/baby-boomer-parents-cant-let-their.html

  145. oao says:

    and now for something completely different: an old funny israeli tv skit:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjDx2ZwLUs0

  146. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    What’s the place or role of values in your theory?

  147. obsy says:

    When smart people argue about theories, it is sometimes the case that each theory does not cover the whole situation. A theory is never better than the data we see. It might help to understand that data better, but in those circumstances where it does not fit the real data must have higher priority. As long as we know that we can trust that data!

    The theory that leftists must be dumb is not reflected in real life. The argument that every smart leftist does it only for money isn’t true either. I know some personally who do not get a cent.
    Of cause there are many dumb leftists (e.g. many drug addicted punks), so the theory that leftists must be smart fails too.

    If you combine the theories, you’ll end up better: There are people that are so dumb that they think straight and there are smart people that are unable to confess to themselves that their life is build up upon lies. Different people often think differently for different reasons.

  148. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    Maybe he even joins AI or HRW on campus where he can get access to lots of supporting evidence and even more praise from this new social circle for his brave anti-establishment conclusions.

    Is this something like rewarding babies (clapping hands, smiling and singing their praise) when teaching them how to deal with the world? :-)

  149. Cynic says:

    #117

    oao,

    From that link you posted
    Yakira pointed out that those public sector employees are paid NIS 1,800 per month (about $450), and yet have to buy the same products that we Israelis do and live in the essentially the same economic N

    which is absolute BS because even in 2000 Israelis were running to Jenin and places to get their gas canisters for cooking filled at a third of the cost.
    Poultry at a third of the cost and so on. Material for building and car repairs also that much cheaper and even gasoline.

  150. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    With regard to #121 just come out and say it: They are cowards who cannot put their true, reasoned and justly felt opinions against their peer group, not even when weighing facts, because they will suddenly find that “we are Nick Cohen”! Cognitive Diffidence?
    However put them in the Debating Society on the right correct side of their consciences and see how they perform.

  151. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    Think of a respected jurist who brings no ideology except the ideology of truth to the court – or the scientist who follows the evidence trail even if it leads away from her pet theory.

    or from their funding as scientists (sceptics) have discovered in the Gorbal Warmening debacle.

  152. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    I have close friends I will not discuss I/P matters with for this reason. It would hurt me too much to lose them. So I engage in a form of moral dishonesty by avoiding it. Fortunately, I don’t have to do that here.

    :-) Well I find it too inconvenient trying always to consider their feelings and knowing that I have facts that back me up but must swallow frogs and not even attempt to put a balanced and factual argument on the table. That is of course if the topic is of any great importance to me.

    The relationship becomes superficial and one-sided.

    I had something relatively recently occur when I put data (even the British High Court ruling about the Rev. Al’s PowerPoint Oscar and Nobel winning presentation) about “anthropogenic” warming of the planet and spoiled the “love affair” the person was having with an “Inconvenient Truth”.

    If they cannot accept me as a friend in deed because of a difference of opinion …

  153. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    1) Maybe some intellos are corrupt. Let’s take the other noam, that is, chomsky, as an example. Maybe he gets paid from souces that you might not expect to be paying him for his propaganda work.

    Why would you start assuming that an intellectual is both erudite and upright?
    Way back in the 70s I wrote a program in a stats dept., to test papers produced by researchers in the medical field, around the world, to see if their data reported, fitted a confidence interval necessary to consider it for further study. Needless to say the great majority failed miserably. And they weren’t low level researchers in several cases.

  154. Cynic says:

    Did he suddenly gain critical thinking skills for a while and then lost them when the topic switched to Israel?

    Ray,
    That’s when the topic got Juicy!

  155. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG asks: What’s the place or role of values in your theory?

    My definition of beliefs covers values which I see as higher level beliefs. They function like all beliefs – they encapsulate psychological forces (emotions) that move us toward specific behaviors under specific conditions. To me, that’s the evolutionary purpose of beliefs.

    A belief in a Somalian student’s brain might be that it is very important to memorize whatever the teacher tells him to memorize or he will suffer a whipping. A belief in the mind of a teenage boy in Chicago might be that there is a reliable dopamine reward (feels good) earned from successfully violating the speed limit. In each case their heart-rate may accelerate and other body / brain state changes may occur at the contemplation of that behavior though they will not notice. They will only notice that they are drawn to or away from certain behaviors under certain conditions.

    As we grow to adulthood our minds learn these associations and attempt to populate our minds with as many useful beliefs as possible in order to ensure our survival and well-being – which brains interpret according the emotions we experience when we use the belief in real life to direct our behavior. Even after we grow up our minds constantly edit and fine tune our beliefs according to that emotional feedback.

    I see values then (in the way you mean it) as beliefs at the top of our belief hierarchy – beliefs that largely determine our identity. They include things such as how we see our own honesty and integrity, how we treat those who are weaker than us, how we treat those ethnically different from us, how we relate to authority, etc.

    One person might learn that being honest even when people hate you for it – is worth it in the long run. (you’ll end up feeling better for it, everything considered, rather than worse.) Another might learn that it always pays to lie about your accomplishments.

    We sometimes do engage our intellect to solve survival problems in novel situations but brains pragmatically prefer to rely on beliefs that have been tested repeatedly in the past to produce good results. Very often, what we interpret as using reason to select our behavior – is using our brains to justify our belief-directed behavior before or after the fact to ourselves and others. We can be very creative doing this.

    When we must depend on intellect for a behavior candidate (when we really have no beliefs that cover the situation) we do so sceptically and cautiously – especially if there’s any significant survival risk or benefit. Like when you got that first email from the barrister in Nigeria.

    But if we try it and if it works, and more than once – it may become a belief for us. Its emotional strength depends on how reliable it is for us over time in that context. The longer we have a belief that works for us the stronger are the behavior-selecting emotions we subconsciously attach to it – and therefore the more likely we will choose that behavior in the future. (That’s how people get addicted to gambling or alcohol or other behaviors.)

    In that other response up-thread I was suggesting that Noam Chomsky has received very strong rewards throughout his life from expressing his belief in Israel’s immorality. You could say Israel’s immorality has been elevated to a value belief in his mind. It is part of his personality, his identity – perhaps like gambling was to Bill Bennett. This learning has occurred many times and the rewards were reliably very high – social rewards, public acclaim, applause of audiences, etc. – something we all seek but probably never receive in the amounts that he has for such behavior.

    Because of the emotional forces embedded in his beliefs it would be almost impossible for him to consider opposite evidence much less reach an opposite conclusion save for some life-changing event – like maybe some terrorist managing to kill a million or so Israelis with a suitcase nuke, and then discovering that the terrorist was an avid follower of his writings on the topic.

    (I’m not trying to convince anyone that this view is correct – just that it seems to work pretty well for me when I try to understand the behavior of various groups and persons, esp. in this I/P conflict.)

  156. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic asks in #155:

    I said: Maybe he even joins AI or HRW on campus where he can get access to lots of supporting evidence and even more praise from this new social circle for his brave anti-establishment conclusions.

    Is this something like rewarding babies (clapping hands, smiling and singing their praise) when teaching them how to deal with the world? :-)

    Exactly like it. Positive rewards repeated for specific behavior creates a belief that we use subconsciously for future behavior decisions.

  157. obsy says:

    Cynic:
    “That is of course if the topic is of any great importance to me.

    The relationship becomes superficial and one-sided.”

    I can’t let that pass, because it is formed as an advice to Ray. The problem are not topics of “any great importance” but only topics that are of great importants to the relationship.

    “If they cannot accept me as a friend in deed because of a difference of opinion …”

    I would be very careful with that attitude. Especially in the beginning of relationships!
    People usually do not think, “Hey that was a nice guy I met yesterday, who was so pushy about that ugly topic that I don’t want to think about – especially not in a way that contradicts the view that I have accepted from my friends and all the media for so many years.”

    By the way:
    In some situations the quality of your arguments make things only worth. You can always laugh about stupidity, but critique that disproves the common standards of the beloved and cozy environment attack the social status that group and that of your correspond in relation to that group. He probably doesn’t like to swallow frogs either. Also he cannot know if a friendship to you will weigh us much as his friends, relatives, field of work …
    Even if you’d know each other for a long time and you are closest friends – do you count up to the rest of his world? So if a topic is not relevant for the relationship, don’t push!

  158. oao says:

    The theory that leftists must be dumb is not reflected in real life.

    you’re oversimplifying at least my “theory”. it’s not dumbness. it’s lack of knowledge and undeveloped reasoning skills and critical/independent thinking. it also involves lack of appreciation of necessity of such and difficulty in applying such. one may be naturally smart but poorly educated.

    Think of a respected jurist who brings no ideology except the ideology of truth to the court

    that’s an illusion — such jurists would not be respected, but out of work. the system require winners, not truth faithful. the rest is commentary.

    or from their funding as scientists (sceptics) have discovered in the Gorbal Warmening debacle.

    turns out that knowledge of the funding sources is critical in judging the validity of research.

    I have close friends I will not discuss I/P matters with for this reason. It would hurt me too much to lose them. So I engage in a form of moral dishonesty by avoiding it. Fortunately, I don’t have to do that here.

    i’m with cynic here (probably because i am also cynical). i could not enjoy the close friendship whose minds operate like that. because if they did it in one area, they’d do it in other areas too and it would be extremely unpleasant to maintain a relationship under those circumstances.

    If they cannot accept me as a friend in deed because of a difference of opinion …

    goes both ways. even if they did, i might not; not because i’d want them to change their minds, but because i do not enjoy the company of people with deficient intellectual mechanisms.

    Needless to say the great majority failed miserably. And they weren’t low level researchers in several cases.

    because most of them are not really scientists, just pretend to be. for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which are career consideration and the system’s mechanism to reward/punish.

    Did he suddenly gain critical thinking skills for a while and then lost them when the topic switched to Israel?

    not impossible. humans are capable to use their intellect differently in different areas — those in which they professionally specialize and those in which they’re not. there are different levels of knowledge involved, and the former may give them unwarranted confidence for the latter. for example, randi has found that natural scientists are the easiest to fool that magic tricks are supernatural phenomena.

    I’m not trying to convince anyone that this view is correct – just that it seems to work pretty well for me when I try to understand the behavior of various groups and persons, esp. in this I/P conflict.

    i got that. but you are just using different words — values and emotions — for behavior. that is not satisfying me as an explanation.

  159. Eliyahu says:

    Today I happened to hear one of those Reformed “rabbis for human rights” talking on the phone. He was speaking fairly loudly, maybe assuming that no one around understood English. He was talking about the hearsay reports about the Israel army supposedly killing civilians that first surfaced in HaArets and that Barry Rubin discusses in this post. It sounded like he may have been talking to one of the foreign press here in Israel.

    First, I must say that he sounded sincere to me. Of course, being sincere doesn’t mean being sane. He sounded like he lives in his own little world of morality plays and psychodramas. He sounded like he practices morality in a void in the midst of a savage jungle. Indeed, I would call him solipsistic. The best thing that I could say of him is the saying of the ancient Jewish sages:
    He who is merciful to the cruel ends up by being cruel to the merciful.
    מי שמרחם על האכזרים סופו שיתאכזר על הרחמנים
    [don't hold me on the exact wording]

    It seems that he and his colleagues in the “human rights community” here want an “international, impartial investigation” of the charges in HaArets. Can any of the Arctic or Antarctic explorers here tell me if such a creature [both "international" and "impartial"] exists in their zones of the globe?? I am not aware of such. Since “international” bodies are always somehow connected to govts and made up of their representatives, direct or indirect, then such a creature can no more exist than a hybrid of a buffalo and a chicken. The thinness/dubiousness of the evidence does not impress our good rabbi and his crowd. However, I am not impressed that their standards of morality are universal. I never heard them [b'tselem, phrc, etc] come out for the human rights of Gil`ad Shalit, for example, or for those Arabs who were kidnapped from Jerusalem to Palestinian Authority territory by arafat’s goons for one offense or another, and then usually killed [not all of them were]. We could go on about Jews driven out of their homes in Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip, whence Jews were driven out by the Egyptian army in 1948 and by the Israeli army under Ariel Sharon in 2005. Anyway, we may soon be hearing a
    lot about the “need for an impartial, international investigation” into the Gaza charges retailed in HaArets.
    Speaking of human rights, NGO Monitor has an article on its site about the NGO failure in regard to the rights of Gilad Shalit. See link:

    http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/betrayed_by_silence_ngos_ignore_gilad_shalit_s_rights

  160. Cynic says:

    I can’t let that pass, because it is formed as an advice to Ray. The problem are not topics of “any great importance” but only topics that are of great importants to the relationship.

    obsys,

    No, it was not advice to Ray but my personal feelings in such a relationship.
    Ray no doubt has his own criteria for conceding.

  161. Cynic says:

    obsys,

    Even if you’d know each other for a long time and you are closest friends – do you count up to the rest of his world? So if a topic is not relevant for the relationship, don’t push!

    I have a friend since grade school with whom I have had several disagreements about something or another but that has never spoiled a relationship where respect for each other has been the overiding influence.
    There comes a time in one’s life when a topic “must be pushed” for one’s own integrity and in the relationship there is sufficient understanding to respect the other.

  162. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao said, i don’t think we can improve on our differences without a comprehensive definition of what i mean by education, which is exactly what instills those “higher order values”.

    I think therein might be a path to reconciliation. For me, education is the adoption (internalization) of beliefs – as I have described them.

    I fully agree that a formal school education that instills beliefs about the nature of knowledge, how to acquire it, about scientific objectivity, about history, how to spot sophistry and groundless emotional claims, etc. – would be more likely to lead to better minds that could more effectively deal with the complexities of life. I also fully agree that such an education is not easy to find in the present case in the West. Your experiences I think are very relevant.

    A main difference is that I would see the problem as that the educational establishment and the intellectual leaders of it never developed the beliefs in a proper, functionally useful education that you describe above – and therefore can not impart such beliefs to their students. Some few students probably learn these things despite that and through life experience and reading on their own but they seem to get little help or inspiration from their years in school.

    I think we differ though in that you see this as an intellectual problem (bad education leads to incorrect thinking which leads to bad conclusions).

    I see it as an emotional problem – they never adopted (probably were never exposed to) the inspiring higher-level beliefs that could lead them to critical thinking as a useful, survival-enhancing behavior in life – as part of their personality, their identity.

    I believe that if those beliefs are present in a mind – if the belief is adopted at an early age perhaps through the admiration of a wise and skilled teacher – those young minds would have no trouble developing critical thinking skills. In fact I suggest it would be hard to prevent it. They will acquire those skills because once they internalize that belief their identity will require them to master it – just as many kids acquire the skate-boarding skills. They first believed in themselves as a master skate-boarder and then willingly put perhaps thousands of hours of personal energy into it becoming that person.

    Perhaps we are just looking at the same thing through different windows which leads to our chicken/egg problem.

  163. obsy says:

    Richard Landes,

    I think I can answer the question you asked Noam.
    i.e:
    1. What makes the shortcomings of the IDF so attractive to him
    2. Does the army have to behave at A+ levels?
    3. Why is his double standard so great?

    I won’t answer your question, “what does hamas have to do before you start talking about how it should be defeated, destroyed, etc.”, because it is there can’t be a good answer to those questions as I told Noam when he asked a similar question. Those questions are for scientists that have to plan experiments – not for personal answers.

    OK, let’s start:
    I can’t answer how it all started. There are a million ways and I lack the data. But I can look at the situation as it is right now.

    As you probably know, Noam is proud to refuse military service in the West Bank, has signed petitions about this and even spend in jail for his attitude.

    It is probably save to assume that he has been insulted (called coward, unpatriotic, …) be some people and praised (called brave, patriotic, …) by others. That is not necessary for my argument, but it makes things clearer.

    So the question to ask is:
    What would Noam win if everybody would think of the IDF as most moral army in the world or a moral army?
    And what would he lose?
    You probably see my point.

    Noam went to prison for his view that the IDF is engaged in immoral activities. When others praise or excuse the IDF then they are harming Noam. Interesting in this point is that you are the only person on this site that Noam really attacked. (He said, that you would endanger Israel. Maybe he meant “endanger a special Israeli called Noam”? But that is not important for my line of thought either.) The interesting point is that you are by far the most credible source of information among us. It were not the attacks that oao or I started in our heat that provoked a strong reaction, it was you – the credible one!
    For me that is an argument that Noam’s very personal believes are under attack.

    If Noam thinks of himself as a patriot, then from this point on the IDF and the occupation of the West Bank must be immoral. It does not matter anymore what the counter arguments are – or better the more credible and well the counter arguments are, the harder is the attack on Noam himself.

    Coming to question 2:
    That is a very hypothetical question.
    If all soldiers would behave A+, it would depend on the circumstances. Noam would need a reason for himself. He must be able to say something like:
    “Now the IDF and the handling of the West Bank are just wonderful, but in my time thinks were different.”

    Coming to less hypothetical question 3:
    The double standard.
    What would Noam win if somebody criticizes Hamas?
    What would he lose?

    Supporting Hamas might worsen the image of the IDF, but you have to be very far away from morality to do that.

    Other countries:
    What would Noam win if somebody criticizes let’s say the Sudanise Army?
    What would he lose?

    In both cases almost nothing!
    That is why the double standard is so huge. In the Israeli case it became personal – in the other cases not.

    I’m convinced that what I wrote is not far from the truth, but there is always the possibility of errors.

    (Noam, please note that nowhere in this comment I wrote that your attitude towards IDF and occupation is right or wrong. It is all about: given the situation, how can you act?)

  164. oao says:

    He who is merciful to the cruel ends up by being cruel to the merciful.

    bingo. look at the hamas-supporting leftists and their anti-semitism.

    Since “international” bodies are always somehow connected to govts and made up of their representatives, direct or indirect, then such a creature can no more exist than a hybrid of a buffalo and a chicken.

    it’s much worse than that. the vast majority of the states today are either islamic or islamic appeasers. just check out the UN operations. here’s the latest:

    UN passes resolution calling for criminalization of criticism of Islam
    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/025406.php

    There comes a time in one’s life when a topic “must be pushed” for one’s own integrity and in the relationship there is sufficient understanding to respect the other.

    it’s called ability to look in the mirror. btw, if the sides can respect each other, that means they deserve respect which in turn means no intellectual deficiencies, just reasonable disagreement.

    I think therein might be a path to reconciliation. For me, education is the adoption (internalization) of beliefs – as I have described them.

    religion and socialization are the adoption of beliefs and i would not call them education.

    you yourself have made beliefs and emotional attachment such a central if not exclusive framework for thinking that it’s hard to incorporate anything else. anything that explains everything explains nothing.

  165. oao says:

    because it is there can’t be a good answer to those questions as I told Noam when he asked a similar question. Those questions are for scientists that have to plan experiments – not for personal answers.

    huh?

  166. oao says:

    Maybe he meant “endanger a special Israeli called Noam”? But that is not important for my line of thought either.)

    methinks it’s more than maybe, as i stated earlier in the thread.

    Noam went to prison for his view that the IDF is engaged in immoral activities. When others praise or excuse the IDF then they are harming Noam.

    i agree he may FEEL that way. but does that mean his view of the conflict is morally and empirically correct?

    If Noam thinks of himself as a patriot, then from this point on the IDF and the occupation of the West Bank must be immoral.

    but on his site he states that everything should be judged in context. does he take the context of the occupation — how it was arrived at, what happens if it’s terminated — have any moral relevance? does the pals’ behavior have relevance? does morality imply suicide to avoid it?

    “Now the IDF and the handling of the West Bank are just wonderful, but in my time thinks were different.”

    the problem here is that whatever he bases his argument on is just not emprically accurate — the evidence is not reliable and valid. that precedes the morality issue: he first must demonstrate that a significant portion of IDF behaves immorally. even if there were a few soldiers who misbehaved it would not justify a drastic conclusion like his, but all such evidence proved false.

    it’s his prerogative to refuse to serve in the wb and to pay for this with jail time. he cannot impose his level of strict morality on others, who believe they will commit suicide just as strongly as he believes in his moral code without providing persuasive evidence that this won’t happen.

    Other countries:
    What would Noam win if somebody criticizes let’s say the Sudanise Army?
    What would he lose?

    gee, and i thought his position was MORAL. turns out it’s really just slef-centered and egotistical. what a surprise.

  167. obsy says:

    oao: “huh?”

    That is given that somebody refuses to support destruction of Hamas based on their past and current actions.
    What shall that someone answer?
    Something far of like, “If they start eating babies.”
    Or something closer like … I don’t know any example. It seems like Hamas has already done (or at least tried) almost any detestable action imaginable.
    But let’s say there were a real and possible thing that Hamas could do to make him mad.
    His answer would be in the form:
    “If Hamas would do …, than I would like to see them destroyed at any prize.”
    If this thing happens under circumstances that he didn’t think about, he would have to either break his promise or demand the destruction of Hamas against his will.

    Again: Any sane person in the world should want to see Hamas destroyed for good right away.

  168. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, I think the correct URL for #177 is:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/03/023168.php

    Maybe they changed it on you.

  169. Ray in Seattle says:

    obsy, valuable insight in #173. It is sensible to ask why a person would challenge a public assertion made at a website like this. I think you are right to suggest it is because that assertion challenged a belief that was important to noam – I’d even say it was central to noam’s personal identity. I think that’s what most blog posts and comments are about. Assertions, refutations, defenses etc. of a person’s high level identity beliefs. That’s one thing that makes it so interesting for me.

    I suspect noam has doubts about what he has done in the past and what that means about who he is – in his own eyes and in the eyes of his fellow Israeli citizens.

    He angered me a little at first but now I see him differently. I don’t criticize him for coming here and expressing his beliefs. I think he may be dealing with a personal identity crisis. He is brave to expose himself this way. And even though I come to opposite conclusions about the conflict I don’t believe he is being dishonest which I stated before. I suspect he is honestly grappling with high level beliefs in his mind that may be difficult to reconcile. If he changes them he will be changing who he is as a person. That’s very difficult. I wish him peace.

  170. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    There comes a time in one’s life when a topic “must be pushed” for one’s own integrity and in the relationship there is sufficient understanding to respect the other.

    Oh Yes. But we must be few lucky ones to have such friends.
    Still, although oao and me are not “that sort” of friends, upon realising that we have different stands on some issues and similar ones on many others, he suggested a mutual agreement to disagree.

  171. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    How about: values are unquestionable beliefs?

    I don’t share your recent interpretation of Noam’s behaviour. It’s one of the militant’s tasks to provoke what he sees as his opposition.

  172. oao says:

    It seems like Hamas has already done (or at least tried) almost any detestable action imaginable.

    it does not SEEM, it DID. that’s the core problem with noam: he is desperate to find one or two IDF soldiers who misbehaved and is entirely silent on barbaric atrocities on both israelis and pals. and based on that evidence he declares “occupation” immoral and wants to expose ALL to hamas as a more moral option.
    and he calls that patriotic. it is self-centered, moral blindness of the first order, and stupidity and ignorance too.

    the pals lost the wb and ghaza when they genocidally attacked israel. they want now to achieve through terror, hatred indoctrination and fooling the west what they couldn’t do by war: destroy israel. and the noams go to jail for that opportunity. idiocy.

    His answer would be in the form:
    “If Hamas would do …, than I would like to see them destroyed at any prize.”

    are you sure? if occupation is absolutely immoral, isn’t killing people more so? if not, then he is either inconsistent, or a troll.

    Again: Any sane person in the world should want to see Hamas destroyed for good right away.

    provided they know all the facts and have the ability to reason. one can be sane and not possess those and if one is insane then he certainly doesn’t.

    I think you are right to suggest it is because that assertion challenged a belief that was important to noam</i.

    and i reiterate that this is at best a trivial explanation. you have relabeled noam’s action in term of a strong belief. doesn’t satisfy me.

    an explanation for me is WHY do we have noams who get wrapped up in such beliefs bordering to insanity. what is producing such emotionally held beliefs. THAT would be an explanation for me.

  173. oao says:

    he suggested a mutual agreement to disagree.

    as i said, reasonable disagreements. you do have knowledge and employ reason based on evidence. i do not see anything like that.

    values are unquestionable beliefs?

    don’t think so. one can question one values and even change them.

    unquestionable beliefs are dogmas.

  174. oao says:

    whoops — i meant “I do not see anything like that regarding noam.

  175. oao says:

    incidentally, what happens when values or beliefs are mutually inconsistent — what mental mechanism does one employ to address that?

  176. oao says:

    apropos eliyahu’s tel aviv “moral club” to which noam probably has affinity — here’s some evidence:

    BARF: Israeli-American Heiress Stages Holocaust-Palestinian Moral Equivalency Minstrel Show; Ambushes Elderly Holocaust Survivors
    http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2009/03/barf_israeli-am.html

  177. oao says:

    but there are fools everywhere:

    “The Government Accountability Office was able to register with the Health and Human Services Department a fictitious institutional review board and panel of doctors and scientists that was led by a dog named Trooper.”

  178. oao says:

    looks like my bromide works:

    Pat Oliphant Cartoon—>THE PROBLEM IS STUPIDITY, NOT HATRED
    http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2009/03/pat-oliphant-cartoon-problem-is.html

    and these kids, don’t you suspect their environment — education, family, society — have something to do with this?

    German teens: Jews ‘deserved’ Holocaust
    http://bennauro.blogspot.com/2009/03/german-teens-jews-deserved-holocaust.html

    that’s how emotionally held strong beliefs get developed.

  179. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao says, hey, ray, what are their emotionally held beliefs here:

    If you are asking literally then I’d have to say it’s obvious.

    If it’s just some way to ridicule my ideas using antisemitism as an example then I don’t really see the point or why I should respond.

    I said before I had no need to convince you of anything. If you really want me to respond to this (I doubt it) you’ll need to improve the information content and lay out some logical argument for your views which I have requested but you have so far failed to do. I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt on these things but it’s beginning to look like you are not able to do so.

    There are more interesting things to discuss here IMO.

  180. oao says:

    ray,

    my bromide at work:

    German teens: Jews ‘deserved’ Holocaust
    http://bennauro.blogspot.com/2009/03/german-teens-jews-deserved-holocaust.html

    here’s how emotionally held strong beliefs start and develop in the lt: poor education and socialization.

  181. oao says:

    Allegations of IDF Crimes Refuted – But Only in Israeli Press
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130616

  182. oao says:

    Galant: Gaza Death Ratio Proves We’re Moral
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130615

  183. oao says:

    Soldiers tell of assisting Palestinians

    Woman soldier tells of airlifting wounded Gazans to Israeli hospitals during IDF Operation Cast Lead.

  184. oao says:

    noam should take this too:

    ==================
    Yaacov Lozowick talks about Israeli innovations and makes this great observation:

    Take, for example, the multiple-tiered explanations about how when people suffer, they aren’t nice in return. They must be assuaged, their needs addressed, their woes removed, their grievances respected, acknowledged, and rectified. You know the line; it’s one of the top meta-narratives of our age. It’s also all wrong, fundamentally wrong, and quite pernicious. Those Shoah survivors disprove it by the simple fact of how they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps (after they acquired boots) in a mostly indifferent and partially hostile world.
    ========================

  185. oao says:

    and this:

    2. On the left is a huge figure. On the right is a small figure. The implication that need not be spoken here is that the big figure—the powerful side—must be wrong. Oliphant like many or most Western intellectuals, academics, and policymakers, still doesn’t understand the concept of asymmetric warfare. In this, a weaker side wages war on a stronger side using techniques it thinks can make it win. What are these techniques? Terrorism, indifference to the sacrifice of its people, indifference to material losses, refusal to compromise, extending the war for ever. This is precisely the technique of Hamas: let’s continue attacking Israel in order to provoke it to hit us, let’s target Israeli civilians, let’s seek a total victory based on genocide, let’s use our own civilians as human shields, and with such methods we will win. One way we will win is to demonize those who defend themselves, to put them in positions where they have a choice between surrender and looking bad. This cartoon is a victory for Hamas. But it is also a victory for all those who would fight the West and other democracies (India, for example) using these methods. Remember September 11?

  186. oao says:

    ray,

    she obviously holds very strong emotional beliefs.

    Exchange With a Terror Supporter
    http://www.israellycool.com/2009/03/26/exchange-with-a-terror-supporter/

    But check out her facts and logic abilities. is there a relationship, you think?

  187. oao says:

    you’ll need to improve the information content and lay out some logical argument for your views which I have requested but you have so far failed to do.

    i guess you failed to see the logical argument, even though it’s staring you in the face.

    let’s see if e.g. or cynic see what you did not.

  188. Margie says:

    Noam haveri you said

    I think that ending the occupation is the key for Israel’s survival. I wonder if you are aware of the long term danger to Israel resulting from your support of the occupation.

    Now I’m starting to wonder whether you really are an Israeli living in Israel. End the occupation you say. What is the ‘occupation’? If you are a member of Hamas it can be translated as meaning the Jewish state as a whole. To others it often means the defensive system we have set up to stop the phenomenon known as homicide bombing: a defensive barrier (yes it’s not always precisely where it should be and bagatz deals effectively with that) and the checkpoints seeing that harmful material and weapons are not brought into Israel. If that’s what you mean by ‘occupation’ then you’ve failed the test of sincerity. You can talk about eighteen year old soldiers not having the necessary manners or skills to deal politely with others or the delays in travelling, all of which I’d hate to encounter myself, but you can’t call for an end to the defence of our people.

    Who are you Noam? What is your ‘occupation’?

  189. E.G. says:

    Margie,

    He’s a journalist trying to move from covering sports to culture, and supporter of Hadash.

    End the occupation means gathering behind the “wall of shame” and creating a non-national state.

  190. obsy says:

    oao,

    “German teens: Jews ‘deserved’ Holocaust”

    In Europe, many teens are Muslims from the North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Population change is generations ahead for the young ages. It takes time for the old Europeans to die out.

  191. obsy says:

    Ray,

    maybe you are right about Noam. That he is willing to think about European Jews points in that direction.

    But I have to warn you:
    We don’t know much. Israel is a weird country.
    He could be married to a Palestinian girl having Non-jewish children for example. We don’t know. It would fit perfectly. In that case it would be virtually impossible that he changes his mind.

    There are a million ways how he could have become the person we know. They are very likely consistent with what we know, but each will have its unique influence on him.

    My guess is the same as yours, but I won’t bet anything on it. The good thing is that I don’t have too. I’m not a psychiatrist let alone his psychiatrist.

  192. obsy says:

    oao: “an explanation for me is WHY do we have noams who get wrapped up in such beliefs bordering to insanity. what is producing such emotionally held beliefs. THAT would be an explanation for me.

    That is hard to say about individuals, but there are some issues worth mentioning:

    1. The Palestinians are extremely good at manipulating people. It seems to be their only expertise.

    2. The world changed with the downfall of the USSR. With only one superpower left the rules have changed. You are freer to criticize. That includes unrational criticism. In many cases that would have been called a “traitor” before became a “humanist”.

    3. Western moral standards are too high. I doubt that human beings can live up to them. Populations definitely can’t. Let alone Populations surrounded and infiltrated by enemies. If we fail to live up to our own moral standards, it is tempting to resign. If immoral people take the power, it will be them who fail and not you.
    In that sense leftwingers are patriotic because they care more about the moral of their own nation than about that of the aggressor.
    (Weird: If morality is so important to them, than they are not doing the Palestinians a favor by accepting or excusing Palestinian immorality.)

    A cure to all those issues (especially the last one) is a check to reality. Unfortunately that is something that you have to want (and that you have to spend a lot effort in. After all there are many lies in politics.)

    An important question I suggest:
    “Is there (or has there ever been) a country that lives up to my moral standards?
    And if there was:
    Can I be sure about it, or are people too romantic about it?
    How long did it last?
    How well did it do?
    What was the situation?
    Could that be applied to me and my own country?

  193. E.G. says:

    oao,

    unquestionable beliefs are dogmas.

    Sometimes. At other times they’re just axioms. And then,
    one can question one values and even change them. see: conversion (not necessarily religious).

    incidentally, what happens when values or beliefs are mutually inconsistent — what mental mechanism does one employ to address that?

    Depending on the detection of inconsistency: either ignore and live happily, or a cognitive dissonance reduction mechanism.

    Regarding Oliphant’s cartoon, what I see is anti-Zionism in the sense of anti-imperialism covering not-very-latent anti-Semitism. Big powerful (hence necessarily cruel and unjust) war machine vs. small fry (iow: use a cannon to smash a mosquito).

  194. Eliyahu says:

    oao, your link about the UN “human rights” council resolution forbidding criticism of “religion” is ominous. That is because there are many kooks around who take the UN seriously as a moral arbiter and want to accept the dictates of every screwed up commission or council of the UN as “Torah from Sinai” or, if you’re in a Greek mood, “truth from Olympus.”

    The members of the UN hr council are mainly undemocratic countries that do not respect HR domestically. The Muslim states among them have long been attacking the Jewish religion in the most perverse, fanatic, dishonest ways, based on old Islamic tradtion as well as on modern imports of Western Judeophobia. So it’s not religion as such that they want to defend but only their own religion.

    I wonder if I could be held in violation of that rule. In 2007, I attended a lecture in Paris about the Armenian genocide by an Armenian historian. He argued that the reason, the motivation, for the crime was Turkish [pan-Turkish] nationalism. When I suggested that Islam was behind it, he disagreed. Then I asked if it were possible to separate the religious aspect from the secular [le fait religieux du fait laic], he answered that maybe it was not possible. Now, I see that my suggestion about Islam as the cause [or one of the causes] of that genocide could get me in trouble. I was insulting a religion. I was imputing unsuitable behavior to it. Let’s not kid ourselves. Too many people take the UN seriously as a moral legislature for 20th century humanity. This is dangerous. And even if the resolution is not enforced as a law, all you need do is to criticize the Religion of Peace for not being peaceful, and a whole bunch of screamers will jump on you. It’s happening already, I’m sure, but it can get worse. You will be told that you are violating a judgement of the very moral UN human rights council.

  195. Eliyahu says:

    correction:

    …the UN… as a moral legistlature for 21ST CENTURY humanity…
    - – - —- – - — – - -

    Maybe in the future, the non-religious in the West will be trained to look to the UN as a source of morality, taking the place of religion or tradition. Something like Moses or Solon viewed as a lawgiver. Meanwhile, the Muslims will still adhere to Islam which must remain immaculate and untouchable and sacrosanct.

    obsy & Ray,
    I think that your psychological studies of Noam may have merit. That is, he is so identified with his position on “occupation” that questioning it causes him personal distress. Now, whether we agree or not that Judea-Samaria are “occupied,” the issue is seldom suitably addressed. Even if you agree that, Yes, they are “occupied,” you could still say: But Germany, Austria and Japan were occupied after WW2, and nobody objected to those occupations. Nobody or only Nazi sympathizers, would have written that German/Austrian or Japanese loyalists to the old regime –or merely Japanese or pan-German nationalists– could be a legitimate “resistance.” That they had a right to resist the Americans, British, French, or Soviets. That they had the right to murder American, British, French or Soviet civilians because Occupation creates the right of Resistance by means of slaughtering civilians of the Occupying power. Those occupations were frankly and openly and indisputably called occupations. Nobody complained about Occupation in those days, as far as I know [or maybe a few did object, maybe Faurisson, for example]. Yet today, there are those who say that Occupation gives the Occupied the right to slaughter the Occupying Power’s civilians en masse and indiscrimately. Advocates of this position may even say that mass murderous Resistance is part of international law. Of course, that is false. But it’s said about Israel. So it is excused. I of course do not agree that Judea-Samaria are “occupied” or that Gaza was previously. I do this on several legal and historical grounds which I have elaborated on before on Augean Stables.

    The main point is that today so many people, even the educated [or "schooled" as oao would say], do not know what occupation means in int’l law and what rules govern occupation under int’l law, etc. What did Orwell say? That a generation of ignoramuses was hanging about our necks like an albatross. And he was referring to the pre-WW2 period!!!

  196. Ray in Seattle says:

    Re: My opinion of noam. I probably agree with most here. I prefer though to give someone the greatest benefit of the doubt until they finally show clearly who they are and what their motives are. I think it is counterproductive to confront them until I do know those things. I am in no hurry. I have my suspicions about noam (and as time goes by those suspicions mount). But IMO there’s nothing to be lost by being critically open to his ideas and inviting him to explain them more completely. (Which is what RL has done.)

    Who are you noam? What do you really think lies at the core of this conflict? Who bears the moral burden of so many innocent civilian deaths over the last 60 years and what moral scale do you use to make that judgment? Here’s your open platform and your chance to show to a few of your detractors why your view of things is the correct and moral one. Or, will you decline the invitation and prove that those here who doubt your motives and honesty are correct?

  197. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyahu: The occupation and resistance.

    This is one of the most perplexing of the strange realities that has emerged since 1967. In the aftermath of WWII – both Germany and Japan unconditionally surrendered to the Allies and ceased all military resistance.

    Palestinians have never surrendered anything and continuously claim the right to carry on “the resistance” against Israel – which is just another word for war. This places Israel’s defensive occupation of the WB in the category of a belligerent occupation (during a state of war) against a people who consider themselves fully at war with their occupiers.

    If Germany or Japan had done anything like that they would have been subject to extreme violence on the part of the occupiers who were thoroughly fed up with German and Japanese militarism and the 60 million deaths it had caused by 1944-45. Many hundreds of thousands of civilians would have been killed if they had resisted like the Palestinians have. I suspect the Allies would have seen that as regrettable but justified under the circumstances.

    One problem here is that Israel does not pursue the war with a need to achieve any definite end to it. Israel always stops short, leaving its enemies in power – saying they will have to live with the Palestinians when it’s over. This is unrealistic IMO. Palestinians are no longer a threat to the king of Jordan if you notice. The Palestinians are the ones who should be worried about living with Israel as a neighbor when its over.

    Defensive war is a terrible burden – but the biggest part of that burden, and sometimes the most difficult to face, is the need to definitively win it beyond any doubt in the mind of the enemy. To fail to face that responsibility results in a never-ending slow war that can extend through many decades sapping the moral strength and resolve of the defender. Enough said.

  198. Ray in Seattle says:

    obsy said, An important question I suggest:
    “Is there (or has there ever been) a country that lives up to my moral standards?
    And if there was:
    Can I be sure about it, or are people too romantic about it?
    How long did it last?
    How well did it do?
    What was the situation?
    Could that be applied to me and my own country?

    Following from my last post above (212), one could make the argument that morality requires the vigorous application of defensive war when one is attacked – to the point that all possibility of further attacks of aggression are eliminated in fact, not just by claim of the defender.

    The enemy really gets to determine how much it is willing to suffer, how much death and destruction to its civilian population it is willing to justify before it unconditionally surrenders and accepts the peace terms of the people it attacked.

    This reality of human nature (or perhaps Arab nature) can be hard to face but one can make that case that failing to deal with that reality and face the consequences (of politically motivated condemnation) is a form of moral cowardice.

  199. Ray in Seattle says:

    BTW – The moral principle that I am advocating for in my post above (213) is the need to reduce or prevent wars of aggression in the future by making them sufficiently costly to the aggressor that the would-be assholes of the world give up their need to attack their neighbors – knowing with certainty that their life was effectively ended.

    I believe a world where wars of aggression (and especially those who start them) are dealt with severely and immediately would be a more peaceful world with a vastly lower amount of innocent death and destruction.

    I don’t glorify war in any sense. I despise war and the great unhappiness it causes. That’s why I advocate for policies that make it less likely to occur.

  200. oao says:

    I tried to post a long comment with replies to most of the latest comments, but it did not post.

    I had such problems before. I emailed RL several times and requested that he fixes this and post my comments, but got no reply.

    I’ve seen that others had difficulties to post.

    This must be addressed, as it’s becoming very frustrating.

  201. oao says:

    If you are a member of Hamas it can be translated as meaning the Jewish state as a whole.

    are you sure only hamas sees it this way?

    To others it often means the defensive system we have set up to stop the phenomenon known as homicide bombing: a defensive barrier

    it’s hardly only UN’s falk who explicitly wants to prohibit israel from defending itself.

    He’s a journalist trying to move from covering sports to culture, and supporter of Hadash.

    figures.

    End the occupation means gathering behind the “wall of shame” and creating a non-national state.

    i would love the noams to live in a bi-national state. too bad it cannot be applied only to them.

    In Europe, many teens are Muslims from the North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Population change is generations ahead for the young ages. It takes time for the old Europeans to die out.

    i’m well aware of that. but this does not negate my argument that such beliefs develop in the absence of proper education and poor socialization. after all, they live in germany — at least there education should have been better. problem is EU does not attempt to integrate them, but to undermine themselves.

    He could be married to a Palestinian girl having Non-jewish children for example. We don’t know.

    it’s true we dk.but although i don’t have stats, my impression is that the noam type don’t exactly rush to marry palestinians or even mix much with them. that’s because they are not about the poor pals, but about poor themselves.

    I’m not a psychiatrist let alone his psychiatrist.

    the notion that this is pure spychology and to leave it to the psychiatrists is a mistake. psychology mediates between environment and behavior, but it is not the exclusive factor.

    The Palestinians are extremely good at manipulating people. It seems to be their only expertise.

    yes, but the more gullible and ignorant their audience, the more effective the pals are. a lot of it has to do with fear which is subconscious, because nobody wants to admit it to oneself or others.

    The world changed with the downfall of the USSR. With only one superpower left the rules have changed. You are freer to criticize.

    yes, but i see it differently: the elimination of competition was destructive for the west. despite the western propaganda of competition and free markets, the propensity is for monopoly and control, and that is always destructive. the west has become corrupt to the bone, in both the private and public sectors, whatever little education was left collapsed. in short, decadence and decay and the delusion of world peace, no more enemies, no willingness to defend core values.

    Western moral standards are too high. I doubt that human beings can live up to them. Populations definitely can’t.

    it’s not the values that are the problem. although the notion that only totalitarianism would self-destruct and freedom would prevail, the propensity is away from freedom. what early free states survived? what new ones? is there any true free regime in the world?

    population’s ability and willingness to live up to those must be developed and sustained. but that is possible only if the population is knowledgeable and able to reason critically and independently. societies, however, prefer to instill and reward conformism and obeying.

    In that sense leftwingers are patriotic because they care more about the moral of their own nation than about that of the aggressor.

    the exact opposite. leftist don’t believe in nations and believe they should be eliminated; and they would not know morals if it hit them on the ass. they are self-centered, often subconsciously afraid, and hate israel precisely because it has managed to survive in a higher moral mode than the one leftists declare.

    A cure to all those issues (especially the last one) is a check to reality. Unfortunately that is something that you have to want (and that you have to spend a lot effort in. After all there are many lies in politics.)

    the want must be instilled in you, you’re not born with it. societies, however, do the exact opposite, for reasons i already described.

    Sometimes. At other times they’re just axioms.

    unquestionable does not apply to axioms. you adopt an axiom until such time as you have reasons to dump or modify it. dogma is inherently unquestionable.

    Depending on the detection of inconsistency: either ignore and live happily, or a cognitive dissonance reduction mechanism.

    yes, but my question is what is the MENTAL MECHANISM which is employed to reach one of the two behaviors?
    I would argue it’s cognitive — knowledge and reason — and that the less of that, the less one detects and is bothered by inconsistency once detected. that’s where i attach importance to education and what it’s missing today.

    Regarding Oliphant’s cartoon, what I see is anti-Zionism in the sense of anti-imperialism covering not-very-latent anti-Semitism. Big powerful (hence necessarily cruel and unjust) war machine vs. small fry (iow: use a cannon to smash a mosquito).

    yes, but it would be much harder to sustain such a view with thorough knowledge of the reality and ability to think critically and independently. and i don’t think oliphant has much of those.

    That is because there are many kooks around who take the UN seriously as a moral arbiter

    the noams tend to do that.

    The main point is that today so many people, even the educated [or “schooled” as oao would say]

    it’s not OR. I define schooled precisely to be very distinct from educated!!!!!!

  202. oao says:

    any further attempts to post a rejected comment gets “duplicate comment”.

  203. obsy says:

    Two new citations of Noam that say it all:

    “We tend to forget how short is the distance between Anti-Arab racism and plain old antisemitism.”

    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=742

    What he really tends to ignore is that most Nazis are big fans of the Palestinians.

    And as answer to the question, how likely it would be that “the Left reorganizes to provide a stronger opposition”, he answered:

    “There is no Left.”

    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=737

    Is there a single issue in the world were this guy is not completely detached from reality?

  204. oao says:

    here’s an american noam:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/03/023175.php

    “I don’t think I’m naive,” Cohen told his Los Angeles audience. On the contrary, he views himself as a sophisticated cosmopolitan. The case of Roger Cohen presents a tangled mix of psychology and ideology combined with journalistic pretense that cannot easily be explained but that should not be ignored. In his most recent column, Cohen crows that “Obama has now taken all the steps I called for” vis a vis Iran. Whether or not this is entirely accurate, Cohen’s thinking is not simply idiosyncratic. He signifies something important beyond himself.

    I can understand an american jew with a journalism career being that ignorant, stupid and pandering to what he senses NYT readers want to read. it’s a bit harder to understand an israeli who served in the IDF and actually lives in israel.

  205. oao says:

    “We tend to forget how short is the distance between Anti-Arab racism and plain old antisemitism.”

    how much does noam REALLY know about the origins, history and nature of either islamic/arab anti-semitism or antisemitism and nazism? had he been REALLY educated about them from his childhood, is there ANY chance that he would have not developed his current beliefs? i think so and now it’s too late.

    “There is no Left.”

    ditto. what does he REALLY know about left?

  206. oao says:

    Is there a single issue in the world were this guy is not completely detached from reality?

    well, reality is subject to interpretation. and how to interpret reality requires some background. and without it, interpretation is likely to be superficial, shallow and subject to manipulation, particularly social manipulation.

  207. oao says:

    here’s noam’s immoral occupation:

    Soldier Jailed for Not Razing Outpost, Police Entrap Jews
    Soldier sentenced to 20 days for refusing to help destroy Meoz Esther outpost; six arrested after police use Arab-licensed car to bait Jews.

    anybody cares to bet on how this conflict will end? easy money.

  208. oao says:

    oao, your link about the UN “human rights” council resolution forbidding criticism of “religion” is ominous.

    you betcha:

    Free speech death watch: Finnish politician to be tried for blaspheming Islam
    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/025421.php

  209. oao says:

    ray,

    more evidence for my bromide:

    ‘My Grandfather Was Not a Monkey!’
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/33200_My_Grandfather_Was_Not_a_Monkey!

  210. Golan says:

    accusations against the IDF??
    There is a diffrence in between the western democracies and eastern dictatorships regarding LAW, it is the need for Proof and meetings one accusers. In the case of the IDF it seems that the Arab and left with the good graces of the press have forgone the need for both. It is not acceptable that there are anomous accusations against the IDF, reporters can’t just refer to sources, that will not do! And by the way who is looking into the 10000 rockets that were fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians, I saw som Palestians admitting to that they did it on TV, why is no action taken on thier actions.

  211. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, Actually, the whole creationism / science debate is evidence for the theory that strong emotional belief rather than reason controls behavior in the minds of those infected with such beliefs.

    If you show some data that people who hold such beliefs were exposed to some particular type of education methods that you disapprove of and that you can describe in some meaningful way – and also if you can suggest how those methods cause one to lose the ability to reason – and not just lose their “critical thinking skills” regarding certain topics – then you might have theory worth exploring.

    As it is, your “theory” seems to fit my description of a strong emotional belief more than your theory about the “collapse of education” being the cause of poor reasoning skills in our society. In fact, I don’t think you’ve even attempted to show any evidence that reasoning skills in the general population have declined in the US over the decades.

    (They well could, have. I don’t know. But, I think if you have a theory explaining why they declined I’d think you would start with some data showing that they have.)

  212. oao says:

    Actually, the whole creationism / science debate is evidence for the theory that strong emotional belief rather than reason controls behavior in the minds of those infected with such beliefs.

    trivial. so what? is there anything that can be done about it?

    what happened is that you had poor education in texas, which produced generations without proper knowledge that might have balanced somehow theit exclusive religious and thus emotional worldview. they are now in turn try to make sure that their children suffer from the same problem.

    i don’t know how better to make it clear to you that what you consider an explanation it’s not. it’s a description. and it may be emotional!

    As it is, your “theory” seems to fit my description of a strong emotional belief more than your theory about the “collapse of education” being the cause of poor reasoning skills in our society.

    you don’t seem to understand my arguments at all.

    (They well could, have. I don’t know. But, I think if you have a theory explaining why they declined I’d think you would start with some data showing that they have.)

    I provided plenty throughout the threads. what evidence have you provided? in each case you have claimed a sort of tautology. how do you separate the meotions from the behavior? what experiment might you suggest (not necessarily conduct) that could falsify your theory?

  213. Margie says:

    oao on the question of leftists. I was one. Perhaps I still am one. Certainly I prefer a state that caters for the welfare of the weak – particularly for the weak who have contributed without stinting to the state I live in, including injured soldiers and old aged pensioners.

    However anybody who wants to share the country that they have worked hard to create with an enemy whose only ambition is to annihilate that state must be looking at the whole question from a strange point of view, missing certain facts that are obvious to me, or seeing a whole landscape that I don’t see. I generally conclude that such people feel that their own feeling of being smugly generous is worth betraying their country for, or perhaps more realistically, they are secure in the knowledge that the majority of us will reject their foolhardy notions and leave them feeling benevolent while the state continues to exist in a fashion that ensures its safety and its future.

  214. oao says:

    Certainly I prefer a state that caters for the welfare of the weak – particularly for the weak who have contributed without stinting to the state I live in, including injured soldiers and old aged pensioners.

    to the extent that it is done correctly, then I am for that too. this does not make one leftist, though.

    as to your other comment I’ve been reiterating here that leftists are self-centered egotists rather than morals as they claim. and they elected a president who excels at that.

  215. oao says:

    what passes for education these days:

    Bill Ayers Invited to Speak to Illinois High School Students
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/33206_Bill_Ayers_Invited_to_Speak_to_Illinois_High_School_Students

  216. obsy says:

    Actually, I can answer Noams question after all:
    (Noam: The only thing I can do is ask you what will be a “real” evidence for you that something is basically wrong with the IDF, or the occupation in general?)

    When Israeli Soldiers are jailed for not destroying the homes of peaceful Jewish families with lot’s of innocent children, that is real evidence for me that something is basically wrong with the IDF.

    Tell me:
    Why is it OK to destroy the homes of innocent Jewish children (sometimes in the middle of the night and jailing their parents), when it is immoral to even think about doing the same to Muslims?

    Tell me!
    Tell me you left wing hypocrites out there!

    It is not because you care about people. It is not because you care about children. Hypocrites!

    Why is it all fine to demolish synagogs, when any damage to a mosque causes an angry outburst from you!

  217. oao says:

    Why is it OK to destroy the homes of innocent Jewish children (sometimes in the middle of the night and jailing their parents), when it is immoral to even think about doing the same to Muslims?

    it’s not difficult to figure out how noam would respond to this. but i doubt he realizes the inconsistency or much cares about: he does not realize that if you hold UNIVERSAL and ABSOLUTE moral code, you need to apply it accordingly, which it’s impossible to do.

    as he writes on his blog, you gotta judge everything in context. however, he applies the absolute code to israel and he invokes context only to the pals.

    and when push comes to shove he resorts to “saving israel’s future”. which exposes the fear masquerading as morality.

  218. obsy says:

    I’ll try it again:

    Ray, oao, your theories are not excluding each other. There are often different reasons for the same thing especially when you talk about populations. (Lots of different people.)

    Believes and emotions can block reasoning skills even with good education and available data. Alas, I had to experience personally.

    And true, when you are not used to think for your self, when you are not used to trust your own limited reason more than public opinion, than this causes you to reject good reasoning that is based on sound data too.

    Is the US-education in reasoning skills declining?
    Probably! In Europe too.

    Rays theory even supplements oao’s:
    If you come to a conclusion by thoughtlessly joining others opinions, you don’t care much for it. It is not personal. You don’t know about the whys and when the opinions of the others change, you will have to adapt again. No strong action can be build upon that. Unless emotion comes into play …

  219. Eliyahu says:

    What Ray said about how Allied occupation forces in Germany, Austria, & Japan would have responded to German or Japanese “resistance” is right. Ray’s response is the right response to chatter about OCCUPATION and the alleged right of resistance. But Ray learned history and remembered what he learned. So he was able to write what he did. That supports what oao complains about, to wit, the failure to teach history nowadays. However, I do believe that the causes for noams and his ilk in various places, are also psychological as obsy and Ray point out. I further believe in a concerted cog war campaign that has been going on for many years.

    The point that Ray made should be made all the time by any decent person. And if someone argues that, Well, Fatah and Hamas are not Nazis, then we ought to remind them of the Nazi collaboration of the Arab nationalists, in particular of Haj Amin el-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, the chief Palestinian Arab leader. Further, of course, the Hamas charter is openly genocidal, which the Nazis were NOT before the war began. So the very fact that Hamas and Fatah are not only tolerated but coddled is a very bad sign for the world as a whole, and for Jews particularly.

    In this light, what is today called the “Left” serves as a militant body of public opinion justifying the worst evils. It is not only against Israel. It defends A-jad in Iran and al-Bashir in Sudan. Al-Bashir has gone a few steps beyond Hamas and A-jad. Al-Bashir actually practices mass murder, and despite all the negative publicity that Sudan has justly received in the last seven years over Darfur [after the world overlooked genocide in southern Sudan for nearly 50 years from 1956 to 2002], nothing concrete has been done to stop the Khartoum govt. When can we see an Oliphant cartoon showing Hamas as an ally of al-Bashir, of Khartoum, who perpetrates mass murder that Hamas can only dream about so far?

    So the “Left” or most of it is a real danger as Margie realizes. But the “Left’s” positions re Israel are much like the EU positions on Israel. So the “Left” is really not “anti-establishment” or “anti-imperilist”, as it claims to be, certainly not in Europe.

  220. oao says:

    Ray, oao, your theories are not excluding each other.</I.

    i never disagreed with ray’s argument, because it is trivially true: it is essentially a psychological description of behavior, bordering on tautology.

    Believes and emotions can block reasoning skills even with good education and available data. Alas, I had to experience personally.

    but when those skills are not available, there is nothing to block, is there?

    And true, when you are not used to think for your self, when you are not used to trust your own limited reason more than public opinion, than this causes you to reject good reasoning that is based on sound data too.

    but WHY you’re not used?? are you born like that?
    and why are some used to and others not?

    Is the US-education in reasoning skills declining?
    Probably! In Europe too.

    Probably???????? Are you serious?

    If you come to a conclusion by thoughtlessly joining others opinions, you don’t care much for it.

    but didn’t noam join because he DOES care??? that’s what ray’s theory says.

    However, I do believe that the causes for noams and his ilk in various places, are also psychological as obsy and Ray point out.

    it’s not just history or knowledge deficiency. is also the failure to develop good cognitive skills. logic and math, philosphy, the scientific method, the notions of validation and falsification, of possible types of error, of causality vs correlation, etc.

    But the “Left’s” positions re Israel are much like the EU positions on Israel.

    well, eu IS mostly leftist, certainly the power elite is.

  221. oao says:

    one of the differences between education and schooling is that the former is about developing the intellect, while the latter is to train one for employment. and the system does not even do a good training job.

  222. obsy says:

    oao,

    behavior is based upon at least:

    1. emotion,
    2. some sort of reasoning,
    3. data (that is connected to emotion as well)

    If I get your argument right, it is:
    emotion is important, but can be ignored, because it is constructed by reasoning from the data.

    I have a problem with this, because:

    1. This is a theory and as such very likely not 100% true in reality. (Let’s say genes would have a direct effect on emotion.) Therefore you should take emotion into account even if most of it could be deduced. Also when you made a mistake, you’ll can recover much easier – even if emotion would be redundant in your theory (or tautological explanations).

    (On the other hand: Bloating a theory up more than necessary is usually a bad idea.)

    2. Your theory is impractical when you try understand a special person. When you look at a person, you won’t see the process how he developed: All the data he got and how he combined it and derived emotions.
    It is impossible to build knowledge about a person by your observations that way. It is hard enough to get some vague image of basic characteristics.

    Theoretical this doesn’t matter, but if you want to check your theory you have to take a look at a real person.

    3. You can’t separate emotion an reasoning. Emotion is part of how we think. There is a meaning of the word “reason” that corresponds to the word “logic”, but that is not what happens in brains. What happens is “psycho-logic”. That difference causes mistakes in some logic questions.

    So if you would say, “human reasoning is based on (or can be extended to) logical processing of data”, you would err.

    This third point is a possible source for errors, which shows the importance of points one and two.
    As you can see, I made the same mistake frequently – and will continue to do so. I hope it doesn’t matter much.

    I didn’t say your thoughts are inaccurate. It is that I would feel uneasy to restrict myself to that model. I am used to the natural sciences way of thinking. Unfortunately that causes a problem in communication.

    but didn’t noam join because he DOES care??? that’s what ray’s theory says.

    That is in the parts that you did not quote. When your emotion kicks in, you can act decisively.

    When you are backed by solid enough reasons, you can act decisively too.

    If both holds true – even better.

  223. obsy says:

    Another warning about words:

    If you would demand better “education”, you might find politicians willing to provide …
    Though you meant reasoning skills, accurate history, etc. and they mean more propaganda.

    Think gazan school books and how the money for them is collected in the UN.

  224. oao says:

    Another warning about words

    which is precisely why i distinguish between education and schooling.

    most people today have no clue what education means because they can find it nowhere. all they know is schooling which is labeled education.

    If I get your argument right, it is:
    emotion is important, but can be ignored, because it is constructed by reasoning from the data.

    no.

    one can interpret data based on knowledge and reasoning, or based on emotion in the absence of knowledge and or reasoning.

    one can be educated to be aware of, to acquire and to employ knowledge and reasoning. what do you think will happen in the absence of such?

  225. oao says:

    this is a video of an interview with bart ehrman where he discusses the very issue of education and emotions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Trt1ZWR5PqQ&feature=related

    my bromise surely worked for him.

  226. obsy says:

    I believe we not productive. We shouldn’t talk about what makes people tick in the first place, but about Propagandist exploit it.

    Naturally one would argue that you would have to know the first before caring about the second, but there is reason not to go that way (ourselves publicly). In the unlikely case that we laymen would come up with something that isn’t exploited already, a propagandist could read about it here and start to develop exploitations. Which would reduce importance of reason even further.

    If we start by looking at the exploitations, we would work illustrative data and avoid the risk of coming up with something new. We also would focus on practical relevant issues instead of let’s say hen and egg discussions.

  227. obsy says:

    oao,

    even if yours would be the uebertheory from which all other theories could be derived, it obviously leads you to focus too much on reason ability itself.

    For example:
    For you there are only two kinds of leftists – idiots and people that are bribed. As Margie I have been leftists. I don’t consider myself an idiot and I haven’t gotten any money for my opinions. Also, over the years I have come to know many left wing physicists and mathematicians (scientists as well as students) who had better reasoning skills than I do.

    Simply increasing education will not solve the problem!

    I think that universities are nowadays in western countries somewhat more to the left than the middle of the population. In Europe at least it is not as much as people say, but to some degree it is true.

    It is one reason why leftists think that they are so clever.

    By the way:
    Leftwingers see it analog to you:
    “There are two reasons to be right wing – either you are stupid or you are a racist.”

    Especially students and scientist in social studies show a bias to the left. Leftists feel comfortable knowing that those scientists that think about society are on their side.
    But they ignore that:

    1. Most social scientists focus on individual cases. Of cause anyone wants to help the poor ones especially if he knows them personally. But they miss the effect on the whole society – let alone on multiple societies. Or if it is possible to formulate laws that achieve exactly what they intend.

    2. If you think you know the reason for some wrong doing, you are likely to excuse it.
    But every action has its reason. In some cases you think know it and excuse – in some cases you don’t know it and do not excuse.
    There is some reason to do that, but its negative effect is that: The more you focused your attention on the mind of somebody, the more likely you are to excuse him.
    You lose objectivity.

    3. Every science has its trends. Scientists might back you today but will oppose you twenty years later. It is a question about getting papers out, organizing money, seeking topics where new insights are likely, …

  228. obsy says:

    oao,

    you might be interested in the works of French philosopher Jacques Ellul:

    “There is no chance of raising the intellectual level of Western populations sufficiently and rapidly enough to compensate for the progress of propaganda. Propaganda techniques have advanced so much faster than the reasoning capacity of the average man that to close this gap and shape this man intellectually outside the framework of propaganda is almost impossible.”

    http://www.swaraj.org/shikshantar/propaganda.htm

    He believes like you that reasoning skills very positive, but they can not compete with ongoing attack on reason. Education in its current form corresponds well to a concept of “pre-propaganda” – things that you must know so that propagandist can exploit them.

    A good thing about Ellul is that he was an anarchistic communist Christian his whole life. He knew the left very well and has some credibility among them.

    I haven’t read it, but his book “Propagandes” is on my personal reading list. Which means that I will probably find time to read it in five to ten years …

  229. Eliyahu says:

    oao, you’re right that there has been a “fall of reason and knowledge.” But maybe they didn’t just fail. Maybe they were pushed. Maybe there was a policy decision. That would support my claim of a cogwar. Go back to the late 1960s, early 1970s. You can see then that not only high schools but colleges and universities were removing course requirements. You were not yet in the USA so you would not have been aware of it.

    Requirements were removed in foreign languages on both the secondary ed [high school] and higher ed [univ, college] levels. They were also removed in sciences and math in various places. Now, I would say that even though standards have also gone down in Yurrup, the FL language requirement is still there because of the EU. This may be one of the few good things to be ascribed to the EU, because they needed their populations to know the lingos of other EU states. What happens in a country, like the US, where few educated people [few univ grads] know FLs on a level of competency [even just for reading in their fields] and many of those who do are immigrants anyhow? The people don’t know what’s really going on abroad because they can’t read foreign books or press or understand their TV or radio plus they lack the perspective to understand events, both due to their FL deficit and their history deficit, and with the univ grads, political science was probably taught to them as more propaganda than education [tell me if I'm wrong or just exaggerating]. Forget geography which was not properly taught in the USA even before the overthrow of education around 1970.

    Bear in mind that much of the removal of requirements that were too difficult for the poor dears was justified on the grounds of democracy. That is, just because Johnny can’t learn 8th grade algebra or write any more than his signature on a check is no reason not to give him a PhD. For democracy’s sake we must lower standards. So you see that the wrecking measures were justified on the grounds of democracy. Something like demopathy. Or what Prof Paul Eidelberg called “demophrenia.” That is, everything and everybody are equal. So why bother to study?

    One result of this greater ignorance is that the most powerful country in the world has an ever more ignorant body of citizens. And that’s how foreign policy can be shaped by shaping public opinion, the public opinion of ignoramuses. That fits into cog war. And then, ignoramuses –including those with BAs, MAs, and PhDs– can be whipped up into an Orwellian hate of a remote hate object [or even their own country, in noam's case].

    So, oao, if the “fall of reason and knowledge” were the planned result of policy, then we are close to the notion of cogwar. Dr Strangelove in Washington can do whatever he likes abroad.

    This is not to exonerate EU govts, particularly the UK.
    I was watching BBC this morning broadcasting from Dubai, I think. There was a panel of Britishers and one Arab sitting around. All of these Britishers possessed the gift of mind-reading the Arabs. They all knew that what bothered the Arabs most was Israel wantonly killing civilians in Gaza [as if Arabs did not wantonly kill Arab civilians in Iraq, Algeria, Lebanon, etc & non-Arab civilians in Darfur --and in Israel when they can manage it]. It was funny that they didn’t ask their Arab fellow panelist what the Arabs were thinking. They, as superbly moral Britishers, knew best by mental telepathy what the Arabs really wanted. And if the Arabs wanted it, then it must be reasonable, moral, and so on.

  230. Eliyahu says:

    obsy, I was writing my #249 when you posted your #248. I find that what you say supports what I wrote in #249. By the way, Jacques Ellul’s Propagandes has been translated into English and published as Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes [New York: Knopf 1965; repr. Vintage books (paperback) 1973)]. I have the book around the house and I too have been meaning to read it for years. The late Jacques Ellul is one of the few sociologists who can be taken seriously. He wrote an introduction to one of Bat Ye’or’s books.

    What obsy quotes from Ellul puts Pallywood into perspective.

  231. Ray in Seattle says:

    Interesting comments this morning. My wife has decided that we must go skiing one last time this spring and there is some fresh snow at Steven’s Pass. So I’ll be thinking about these comments and will reply later.

    Is this the longest ever comment thread?

  232. Ray in Seattle says:

    Interesting article by Hitchens in Slate this morning for anyone interested.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2213246/

  233. Ray in Seattle says:

    And one last Hitch this morning before I must run.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/33211_Video-_Hitchens_vs._Mos_Def

    Re: Education and critical thinking skills among other topics.

  234. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    It was funny that they didn’t ask their Arab fellow panelist what the Arabs were thinking. They, as superbly moral Britishers, knew best by mental telepathy what the Arabs really wanted.

    You have not lived under a British colonial administration otherwise you would see that “they know what is best” for the natives.
    The Italians showed a little bit of it when they filmed Mondo Cane 2 Africa Addio.

    British education has gone to the “Cane” and Melanie Phillips has posted quite a few pieces on her blog.
    More and more the “proletariat” is being educated by way of eMpTyVision and indoctrinated the PC way.

    Training the mind to deal in sound bites has reduced the reasoning power as the brain struggles to absorb more than a jingle’s worth and battles analysing the structure.
    The schools are a laugh as children who do not come up to spec receive deferred success instead of fail.

    Bear in mind that much of the removal of requirements that were too difficult for the poor dears was justified on the grounds of democracy.

    Where as happened in Florida some minority parents complained that the Maths course discriminated against their kids.
    Everybody is become victim

    Of course nobody looks at the role parents are not playing any longer in the “education” of their offspring as they leave everything to big-brother.

    Amazingly people who are being relieved of their responsibility to rationally choose representatives for government are required to choose from those ill equipped to represent.

  235. obsy says:

    From Ray’s link:
    According to this and other reports, the surrender of authority by the already crumbling Pakistani authorities has had an emboldening effect on the extremists rather than an appeasing one.

    Numberless witnesses attest that the militants show not the smallest intention of abiding by the terms of the so-called “truce.” Instead of purchasing peace, the Pakistani government has surrendered part of its heartland without a fight to those who can and will convert it into a base for further and more exorbitant demands. This is not even a postponement of the coming nightmare, which is the utter disintegration of Pakistan as a state. It is a stage in that disintegration.

    Surprise, surprise!

  236. oao says:

    For you there are only two kinds of leftists – idiots and people that are bribed.

    Looks like you simply put words in my mouth that I never uttered. I have not claimed any “ubertheory”, or that leftists are idiots or that they are bribeable. I have no idea where you got these ideas.

    Let me put state it one more time and then I am leaving this thread, because indeed there is no productivity here, but not for the reason you think:

    for various reasons education, defined as instilling appreciation for knowledge and ability to think independently and critically, has collpased in the west. that has produced a public who lacks the most basic information and curiosity about the world, which makes it prone to manipulation. nowhere did i say this is the ONLY factor that explains everything, but it’s a a major facto which explains a lot.

    note that this does not mean people are stupid, just that their intellect has not been developed.

    over and out.

  237. oao says:

    btw, neither did i mean that there are no idiots or stupid individuals among the left OR the right, but that’s a separate issue.

  238. oao says:

    bart ehrman, to whom i linked, is an excellent example of somebody who was able to overcome his ignorance and emotionally held religious beliefs by acquiring by himself the knowledge and ability to reason he had but which were not developed.

    such ability is quite rare. most people won’t do it by themselves.

  239. oao says:

    oao, you’re right that there has been a “fall of reason and knowledge.” But maybe they didn’t just fail. Maybe they were pushed.

    but that’s exactly what I said will happen in democracy over time!!!!!!!!!!!!

    as to the propaganda overwhelming reason, that’s certainly true where there IS no reason!!! we don’t exactly know how effective it would be if there WERE proper education. note also that at least with respect to islamism and jihad the propaganda is inflicted by people who had NO EDUCATION WHATSOEVER who are still in the 7th century. yeah, i know some are highly schooled, but that does not count.

  240. oao says:

    it so happens that hitchens is both highly educated and able to reason. so much so that he was leftist and he escaped the propaganda too.

  241. oao says:

    ray, did you pay attention to the rapper? who kept asking what were the objectives of the islamists, which are pretty clear for whomever wants to know them? would you say that squares with my bromide?

  242. oao says:

    British education has gone to the “Cane” and Melanie Phillips has posted quite a few pieces on her blog.

    the top reads on the subject is theodor dalrymple. the labor government has practically destroyed the british society and made it prone to islamization.

  243. oao says:

    Of course nobody looks at the role parents are not playing any longer in the “education” of their offspring as they leave everything to big-brother.
    Amazingly people who are being relieved of their responsibility to rationally choose representatives for government are required to choose from those ill equipped to represent.

    but the parents and the politicians are products of the same collapse of education!!!!!!!!!

  244. obsy says:

    oao,

    I have thought about some know propaganda that I can not explain by low education:
    (In general any manipulation that does not consciousness.)

    1. “brave new world”-style:
    Artificial changes to meanings of words or phrases. E.g: religion or culture as a race (in the context of racism)

    2. Pavlov-style:
    Repetition, repetition, repetition, …

    These two aren’t explainable by emotions or deep rooted believes either.

    3. Pallywood:
    Let’s take the Lebanon photos with the destroyed houses where the only thing left standing is a child’s toy (without even dust on it). Reasoning could help here, unless you a mother of a small child who has the same toy. The chances are sky high that even the smartest mommy will immediately be shocked and condemn the IDF for it. When she finally starts reasoning again all that is left will be the impression/feeling that, “the IDF kills small children like my little girl”.

    Also notice that emotions concerning the wellbeing of children (especially the own children) are very likely not derived by reason but inherited.

    I think I finally understand why you insist so much on reasoning deficits as the sole cause for leftism. There are only two ways that help some what against propaganda that I know:

    1. Refuse all information
    2. Good reasoning
    (“3. Luck” – but that is nothing you could influence)

    The knowledge that you are emotional exploitable and that your high level believes can distort your view only helps as a starting point for your reasoning. To reason well you should better know how other people will try to influence you, but in the end it is only reasoning itself that can protect you – unless you are willing to refuse all information.

    P.s:
    I could come up with a theory that states that the only reason somebody does not end up as a leftists is luck – but that won’t help much.

  245. obsy says:

    oao:
    nowhere did i say this is the ONLY factor that explains everything, but it’s a a major facto which explains a lot.

    OK, so I got you wrong the whole time.

    Also sorry, it looks like Eliyahu was the one with the corrupt leftist theory and I mixed it up. It’s a long thread …

  246. oao says:

    obsy,

    i don’t think you interpret correctly what i argue and i am not sure you understand it. i suspect it has a lot to do with my concept of education which is far from what you have in mind as such.

    otoh, here’s an example of propaganda — can you see who is the target? it is being inculcated in them without ANY education whatsoever.

    Saudi Cleric Khaled Al-Khlewi Teaches Children to Hate Jews
    http://www.solomonia.com/blog/

    now assume that these kids were educated (not schooled) BEFORE this crap were dumped on them. would that have ANY impact, you think?

  247. oao says:

    Melanie Phillips: Meet the Real Lobby
    http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/03/melanie-phillips-meet-the-real-lobby/index.shtml

    how many of those attending know really enough about things such as in the previous link, you think?

    btw, looks like some ARE bribeable.

  248. Eliyahu says:

    oao, christopher hitchens curiously came to the USA at about the same time as Alexander Cockburn whose views on most issues are similar. This was probably years before roger cohen came over. They were all preceded by Alistair Cooke, who came during WW2 as a British agent of influence to encourage the USA to join in WW2 at Britain’s side.

    Anyhow, hitchens is a liar as proven in the link below by Rabbi Boteach. I have always seen him as a liar on account of many things that he says. See link:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1237727572200&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

    Maybe cockburn and hitchens divided the labor after 9-11, with hitchens being anti-Islamic and cockburn pro-islamic. A simple division of labor, perhaps.

  249. oao says:

    oao, christopher hitchens curiously came to the USA at about the same time as Alexander Cockburn whose views on most issues are similar.

    that’s too close to a real conspiracy theory for my blood. anything is possible, but this is improbable.

    i would agree that hitchens is uneven and sometimes quite ridiculous, but he is well educated and he can reason. there is probably some opportunism in his leaving the left, but when it comes to islamism he is normally better than average.

    because of his disgust with theism he does have a blind spot when it comes to judaism: he does not make much distinction between it and islamism and christianism, but there aspects of the later that I have my own disgust of as a secular humanist.

    in fact, i have my own personal experiences with orthodox judaism to back up my disgust, as I have for all fanatics.

  250. oao says:

    8 Gaza Children (A response to Caryl Churchill)

    1

    Don’t send him to the men
    who will tell him
    that death is for the holy,
    who will tell him that he will be revered,
    that Allah himself will clap for him.
    Keep him by my side.
    Don’t tell him he was born to be a martyr
    and that a martyr never dies.
    Don’t tell him that death is holy.

    2

    Tell him he is a boy in a house of stone,
    a house that belongs to him,
    a house he will one day return to
    because what is taken away
    will always be returned.
    Fire can destroy
    or create and it has created his people
    born in suffering.

    3

    Teach the reporter and the playwright
    the bombs and missiles
    that fall in that country do no harm and if they were shot,
    they didn’t fall,
    and if they fell they made no noise,
    and if they maimed
    they didn’t kill,
    and if the Jewish children ran to the bomb shelter
    there were toys there
    and snacks.

    Tell her the usurpers are privileged
    and are entitled to their punishment.
    Let the reporter and the playwright believe
    that the rockets were designed to miss their mark.
    And really there was no worry.
    It was sport to watch missiles fall from the sky,
    to hear the soaring boom
    at any time of night or day,
    to see the streaks of light
    like firecrackers,
    to run and stumble into the shelters.
    And if the grandparents fell
    because they had to run,
    well they were old and they should go back
    to where they came from.

    And if there was no shelter or place to hide
    they should enjoy the cool night air
    because the bombs are a noble expression
    of being, of a people defending their own integrity.
    Anyway just a few died.

    4

    Tell him one day women in foreign cities
    will admire him,
    will write about his courage,
    will travel to his village to stand under his olive trees,
    will write plays about him,
    will desire the sacred olives
    whose oil he will one day burn.
    Tell him these women understand his pain
    and encourage him to fight the enemy.

    Tell him that each olive knows its tree
    and that he should never move from under the shade
    of his tree and that the oil
    will one day burn
    up the Jewish fields.

    Tell him that the day will come.

    5

    Tell her it was just a stone in a boy’s hand.
    Tell her that blood was smeared on the walls of the cave.
    Tell her that the blood was red and that red is a sign of victory.
    Tell her that his schoolbooks were in his bag
    But they were Jewish schoolbooks
    with a text of Jewish victory
    and a map of Israel.
    Tell her it is about land.

    Tell her he was just a child.
    Tell her that he had a salami sandwich for lunch.
    And his mother was waiting for him to come home.
    Tell her that his brother still can’t sleep.
    And that his mother sees him stepping off the bus
    even though it has been eight years.
    Tell her it is that schoolboy’s fault
    because he would have grown up to be a soldier.
    He would have grown up to be an Israeli Jew

    Tell her she had no choice.

    6

    Tell him the trees want vengeance.
    Tell him the river wants vengeance.
    Tell him the grass wants vengeance,
    that time stretches backwards and forward
    and that he will reclaim the tree and river
    that echo the name of Allah
    that he will wait until
    the Jews are dead and gone
    and their name is erased from the land
    and their blood runs in the river
    and overflows the land
    so that even the stars
    are splashed with the red impure blood
    of infidels.

    Tell him it is the natural order.

    7

    Tell her she is a victim.
    She was a victim
    She will be a victim.
    She refuses to give up
    Being a victim
    Because in being a victim
    she remembers and in this way
    she will never yield.
    She is not like a rock that is
    eroded by rain
    She is a metal bullet
    that will find its mark
    And she will wait until it does.

    Tell her to feed her patience with vengeance.

    8

    Tell him to use a bulldozer.
    Tell him to use a gun.
    Tell him to use explosives.
    Tell him to use his bare hands.
    Tell him to use a knife.
    Tell him to board a crowded bus
    Or find a crowded café.

    Tell him it’s okay if they are children.
    Tell him to enter a home
    And put a gun to a baby’s head and kill him
    In front of his mother
    Who is hiding under the bed.

    Tell her to kill them at their seders
    Tell them to kill them at their Shabbat tables
    At their holidays
    At their rest days
    And on their days of work.
    Tell them to kill them at the malls
    And the bakeries
    And at the cinema
    On the road
    Tell him the world will understand.
    Tell him to give out candies.
    Tell him he is in despair.
    Tell him he had no choice.

    Sherri Mandell

    Sherri Mandell’s son, Koby Mandell, was murdered by Arab terrorists who stood over him and his friend, Yossi Ish-Ran, and smashed their heads with rocks until they died. Koby and Yossi were 13 years old.

    http://www.viciousbabushka.com/2009/03/8-gaza-children-a-response-to-caryl-churchill.html

  251. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao said, i would agree that hitchens is uneven and sometimes quite ridiculous, but he is well educated and he can reason. there is probably some opportunism in his leaving the left, but when it comes to islamism he is normally better than average.

    Schmuley Boteach said, How sad that Hitchens, a self-proclaimed truth-teller and child of George Orwell, has yet again ignored evidence clearly presented to him in pursuit of preexisting prejudices.

    Because this is what humans do – educated properly or not – quite practiced in the intellectual arts or not.

    Doesn’t it make sense that Hitchens, who oao clearly admits “is well educated and . . can reason” holds some unreasonable beliefs having to do with Orthodox Jews, and those beliefs are probably the result of a higher level belief he holds having to do with the damaging effects of organized religion on humankind, in whatever form it is found.

    It’s not that he can’t reason. It’s that the emotional power of those beliefs in his mind will not allow another conclusion. So instead, he uses his intellect to justify those beliefs – not to examine them.

    BTW – I always knew Hitch had a hard-on for religion and those who practice it. I did not know he had any special distaste for Orthodox Judaism.

    The reason my theory is resisted is because of the same effect. That is, most of us acquire a belief along the way that we have free will and that our free will is guided by our reason. To admit that it is actually guided by emotion is to deny our high level belief in the primacy of our own intellect and reason in our behavior (and the behavior of those who agree with us).

    Being exposed to that belief can cause discomfort. Discomforted minds will set about devising reasons why it could not possibly be true. Failing that it may be necessary to describe the idea as “trivial” or “tautological”. ;-)

    In Hitch’s case it may be necessary to write articles about those bad religious Jews. It’s all driven by the same mechanism though – the force of strong emotional belief in the human mind – and the ability of those strong beliefs to harness reason in their defense, not to examine them in the first place. It’s how minds work.

    Persons who have higher than average intelligence (or better education, etc.), are not any more likely to hold rational beliefs. But they are more able to cleverly defend their irrational beliefs – i.e. Walt, Mearsheimer, Carter, Chomsky and many others and now Hitchens too. They are so skilled at defending those beliefs they can even convince themselves.

  252. oao says:

    ray,

    please read what i wrote: that hitchens is UNEVEN. you have just provided details to what i said.

    i have not identified any perfection in anybody and i doubt that anybody is perfect. but when i compare hitchens to the various pundits and “intellectuals” in the public eye, who are utterly ignorant and have no clue on logic, hitchens is much better. i know his blind spots and know when he makes sense and when he’s nonsensical.

    he just published another piece in slate about religion in idf which reveals his ignorance about israel, but i cannot say that i am too excited about any contamination of religion in public life. us militant atheists are consistent about religion, be it islam, judaism or christianity.

    strong emotional belief in the human mind

    are your pronouncements here all driven emotionally? are you arguing here emotionally? and if the human mind is not to be trusted because of that, what the hell are we doing here? throwing our emotions at each other? you are perilously close to dismissing your own efforts here.

    the human mind is capable of both nonsense e.g. religion or brilliance e.g. darwin or einstein. a lot depends on how it is developed. religion is usually due to indoctrination, most often in childhood.

    i linked earlier to an interview with bart ehrman. he was a born again fundamentalist–i would say that’s highly emotional. he went into research of the scriptures and discovered facts that turned him into an agnostic.

    perhaps i should put it this way: education of the kind that I have in mind is not guaranteed to overcome beliefs and emotions and i did not claim it is; but without it, those emotions and beliefs are guaranteed.

    i reiterate that your repetitive mantra about emotions is beginning to sound just like an emotional belief of the kind you push. so careful.

  253. obsy says:

    oao: “perhaps i should put it this way: education of the kind that I have in mind is not guaranteed to overcome beliefs and emotions and i did not claim it is; but without it, those emotions and beliefs are guaranteed.”

    So I have guessed your motivation to accentuate reason (in 264) quite well. It is the one and only practical thing that can help.

    Even in case that I don’t get what you mean by education.

  254. Eliyahu says:

    that he will wait until
    the Jews are dead and gone
    and their name is erased from the land

    Erasing the Jews’ name from the land is what the Roman emperor Hadrian did. After suppressing the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt [ca. 135 CE], Hadrian changed the name of the Jews’ country from Provincia Iudaea [Judea] to Provincia Syria-Palaestina. That’s where the name Palestine came from, an imperialist device by Hadrian to further suppress the Jews after the revolt.

  255. Cynic says:

    obsys,

    Let’s take the Lebanon photos with the destroyed houses where the only thing left standing is a child’s toy (without even dust on it). Reasoning could help here,

    During the Lebanon crisis of 1982/83 Time magazine published an article with a picture of the ruins of a house and said that it was destroyed by the Israelis in the fighting. The only uncomfortable fact was that there was a tree growing inside the bounds of the foundation and this tree had been growing for more than several years.
    Amazing that the editorial staff did not pick up this inconsistency or more amazingly the readers in general did not even notice.

  256. E.G. says:

    What Cynic above and oao seem to argue is that questioning is not necessarily driven by emotion, at least not only by emotion. To which I agree. As I understand oao’s concept of education, it’s about training (probably/preferably from childhood on) to doubt, to seek alternative explanations (hypotheses) and evaluate any information’s accuracy, validity…, in short, never to live happily ever after with one “Truth”. Being convinced is/should be a momentary state. It doesn’t mean that one’s gut-feeling does not intervene, but even intuition can be, and in fact is, educated, mainly via experience.

    More generally, the role emotions play in our behaviour is just beginning to be studied. To the best of my knowledge, MRI show that some emotions interfere with quite a few cognitive operations, but for most – it is yet unknown how (or why, or how much).

  257. E.G. says:

    Back to the topic: The scoop that was not.
    IDF: Damning Cast Lead accounts false

  258. oao says:

    Hadrian changed the name of the Jews’ country from Provincia Iudaea [Judea] to Provincia Syria-Palaestina.

    so the palestinians of today cannot claim to be the originals in what they attempt to do.

    e.g. is correct, but that’s only one aspect of education. if you watch the ehrman interviews, he states that he embarked on research because he wanted to know the TRUTH and if the EVIDENCE led him away from his emotionally held beliefs, he had to give up the belief. to that end education should include the notion of truth, of evidence, of philosophy, of logic (and the various types of errors), of math, of physics, the scientific method and philosophy of science, difference between faith and science, etc. it should ask questions and let kids provide the answers.

    the other one is imparting of KNOWLEDGE: history (not just of the west), comparative cultures and religions.

    bart ehrman holds the truth as emotionally as he once held faith. but now he has a different basis for the emotion and he thinks differently.

    the creationists, however, are people who were not educated (even if schooled) and they at best try to fit knowledge and evidence to their faith, at worst they are not thinking at all. e.g.:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/33221_Lets_Be_Honest_with_the_Kids

    there is NO evidence that can falsify their “theory”, no matter what. they in fact have no clue about validation and falsification and they’re not interested.

  259. oao says:

    it’s about training (probably/preferably from childhood on) to doubt, to seek alternative explanations (hypotheses) and evaluate any information’s accuracy, validity…, in short, never to live happily ever after with one “Truth”.

    can anybody see why this would be very uncomfortable for power elites in any society, including the former democratic west, their declarations to the contrary notwithstanding?

    that’s why education, which used to be closer to my concept, collapsed entirely over time.

    eliyahu, now you see that I agree it was more or less intentional?

  260. Cynic says:

    oao,

    the other one is imparting of KNOWLEDGE: history (not just of the west), comparative cultures and religions.

    even way back when I was trying to get an education knowledge was portioned out according to the political current of the time and only now for example thanks to the internet and the wherewithal to use it can I discover things like
    From The Armenian Golgotha to The Holocaust—Foreshadowing Attitudes of the German Military?

    Stuff that was completely ripped out of the History of the 20th Century that we were taught at the time.

  261. E.G. says:

    oao,

    My comment was quite concise. Acquiring notions of logic such as necessary and sufficient conditions to prove/disprove, of statistical thinking, physical laws etc., as well as historical and “general” knowledge (e.g., foreign language), necessarily stems from the “need” to search for alternative explanations.

    I distinctly recall overhearing a conversation at a restaurant (couldn’t help it, they were talking quite loudly) between a US boy (somewhere between 9 and 11 yrs old) and what seemed his mother’s companion. The boy was questioning a propos what he’s been seeing, and the explanations given to him, on his European trip. The companion, rather than offering more/other explanations (he did, but very few), encouraged him to find out more by himself. The conversation drifted from Olympic Gods to E.T.’s and computer simulations (I’m not sure the boy actually ate anything, except some words, I wouldn’t turn too often) but it was fascinating. The boy definitely needed to increase his knowledge-base, but I’m sure he’s been able to do so since we “met”. He certainly didn’t lack inquisitive skills and the encouraged tendency to cast doubt.

    I’ve said it before and I say it again, I’m very uncomfortable with the notion of “Truth” (I immediately associate it with Pravda). Current Truth sounds much better. Formal logic uses truthfulness or veracity as a decisive criterion, but it also conceives of the latter as temporary states rather than absolute ones: X is true till proven otherwise. And it’s about there that we find the distinction between “Am I right or am I right” types and “I’m right till proven wrong” types. The Haaretz account about the Cast Lead closed investigation, compared to Ynet’s or Jpost’s ones, illustrates the point.

  262. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Your “obscuring” example just reminded me of one of my most frustrating experiences. My Master’s thesis was very well documented, more than sufficiently broad and containing recent, in depth, investigations of the phenomenon I studied. I just failed to notice that the “Annual Review” chapter next to the one I extensively used, dealt with the subject that I intended to study for my PhD. Took me some time to get back to that “missed” chapter in the volume I so often held with both hands and eyes…
    Not that I’d never before read a different paper in a journal I consulted for a specific article. And not that at the time, I hadn’t perceived the relevance between the subjects of the 2 adjacent chapters. True, I was time constrained. Never excused myself, though.

  263. obsy says:

    E.G,

    the way of thinking that you describe is nice and works very well on small problems and should be done more often, but it is completely unrealistic in general. Sorry.

    A reason for this the complexity of this algorithm:
    If it were possible to do that in any reasonable time, we would have really good Artificial Intelligence. I mean really good. Smart computers can out-think any human. As we know, computers even have a hard time to beat some humans on such a simple thing as chess.

    In real life we unfortunately have to focus our attention to very few things and can only touch them to not to deep levels of understanding.

    In fact one common way how people evade debate defeat (in an almost clear situation) is to outstretch (probably) meaningless issues.

    There is a nice point worth noting:
    A blogging community with lot’s of people, different minds, different education, etc. is much better in (this style of) analysis as a handful of journalists under time pressure, who have to please their chefs and their readers. Journals can be seen as more reliable, but they really don’t have the smallest chance when it come to analysis to compete with the bolosphere.

    ps: A funny thing to notice:
    Rapper Mos Def is practicing that style of thinking that you suppose. The video above shows that it too can destroy good discussions instead of helping them.

  264. obsy says:

    E.G: More generally, the role emotions play in our behaviour is just beginning to be studied. To the best of my knowledge, MRI show that some emotions interfere with quite a few cognitive operations, but for most – it is yet unknown how (or why, or how much).

    It will stay that way. And “reason” is not and will not be understood either. We have to live with that, because the brain and is function is much to complex to be understood.

    I don’t like the phrase, “emotions interfere with quite a few cognitive operations”, at all. People whose emotions are much weakened are not able to sustain their own lives. Most common example are people with heavy depressions. But their is worse: People who can’t judge the importance of issues. That is what to think about “next”. They feel that they are hungry, but don not judge that information highly enough to eat something until somebody feeds them.

    Emotions are part of how we find solutions. Emotions are part of how we reason. They don’t just interfere with our “pure logic” reasoning.

  265. obsy says:

    Cynic: “During the Lebanon crisis of 1982/83 Time magazine …

    1982/83 and they too fell for Pallywood?

    So the education system must have been broken long before. Just think, most of the population at that time had been educated 2,3,4,5 decades before. So at which time was the education system good enough that the people could see the lies?

    Sorry for being sarcastic here, but it’s late and I am tired. I really appreciate reasoning, but I can’t solve my social/political questions alone. They are too complex. I need to learn more about propaganda to know when I have to look where if I don’t want to be exploited. And I need the Richard Landes’ out there to tell me were to look. I would never have looked at the bullet clouds in the Al Dura Videos myself. I would never have looked at the bullet holes. I could have thought about it the rest of my life and probably would have done it. I wouldn’t even looked at that video, because there were so many people there that it is virtually impossible that everyone kept quite about their play – I would have thought and focused my attention to something else, because I can’t spend my whole life thinking about just one issue.

  266. E.G. says:

    obsy,

    I’m very sorry you don’t like my formulation “emotions interfere with quite a few cognitive operations”. Unfortunately, it’s the experimental design. One invariable cognitive task, several emotions evoked while the experimental subjects perform it, level of (cognitive) task performance measured, MRI monitoring cerebral activity.
    Of course, there are lab-field generalisation issues. Which is precisely why I advise caution regarding the role of emotions, cognition being relatively better (longer, more extensively) studied.

  267. Ray in Seattle says:

    obsy re:285 – Yes. You have a better understanding of this than most. Most people think of emotions as feelings. Feelings are actually the small part of the iceberg that is visible. Feelings are our conscious awareness of our emotions. Most emotions occur as changes in body / brain state that we do not notice – but that affect our behavior subconsciously.

    I have come to see emotions as the way brains assign survival relevance to what we observe and what happens to us in life. Learning is when those associations are remembered for recall. I call those learned associations beliefs.

    Brains have a huge capacity for these beliefs. Since the purpose of brains is to enhance survival through behavior selection – then emotions are the critical element in that process, the critical part that allows brains to select behavior that it predicts will enhance its survival – and most of that occurs subconsciously.

    I would say that it is impossible for a human brain to select behavior that it (the brain) does not believe is the best survival choice in any particular context – according to its beliefs. The brain can be wrong (it can hold wrong beliefs) but it can only make that choice.

    The way to enhance one’s survival is to purposely populate the brain with beliefs that are as accurate a reflection of reality as possible. That’s a difficult commitment to follow because it feels good to accept new beliefs that support our existing higher level beliefs – and it feels bad to do the opposite. And reality often does not feel good. Overcoming that bias is a skill that must be nurtured – and is what oao means, I suspect, by an ideal education.

    He believes however, that simply learning the skill is what’s necessary, like perhaps learning long division, and that emotions are a distraction that suitably trained minds can ignore.

    I say that what new things we are willing to believe is subject to the emotional power of existing higher level beliefs in our mind. Therefore one must first learn (acquire) the very high level belief that acquiring only objective and rational beliefs is a desirable task that should be part of one’s personality (identity).

    When and if that is done it will be impossible for any reasonably intelligent person not to acquire the necessary skills to support that part of their personality. Conversely, learning intellectual skills without a personal commitment to objectivity and rational process – which is often in opposition to believing what feels good – will just lead to populating one’s mind with nonsense – such as Noam Chomsky and others, who have obvious intellectual skills.

    oao thinks it’s about how we are educated. That if people take the right classes with the right curricula, if they are taught the right things, they will come out as objective, rational thinkers.

    I think it’s about our beliefs, it’s about who we are – our identity. This kind of belief can be learned in school but only by emulating someone who has those skills and who we admire. Mostly I think it’s learned by personal experience beyond school and by association with special persons in our life who posses that commitment themselves. We must somehow be inspired to want to incorporate such qualities into our identity on the emotional level – we must want to become a person who has those qualities of mind.

    I agree with oao that such qualities are greatly lacking in the younger generations. But the reason is because there are few mentors for young people to emulate in school these days who have such qualities. If those special mentors had not been lost along the way then the education system would not have suffered as it has.

    Why they have been lost is another topic.

  268. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    Whatever you name them and whatever capacity you attribute them, the point of education is to gain some control over emotive or emotion-induced states. If 2+2 nicely fits into 6 or 3 (’cause they’re roundish whilst 4 is straight and angled and curves are more appealing to my aesthetic sense – but that’s only a rationalisation of some electro-chemical circuit), I’d better have some checking mechanism/routine that will indicate that aesthetics is lovely but irrelevant to an addition task.

  269. E.G. says:

    Another example: we all fall prey to perceptual illusions, even when we know the “trick” and know we should be careful about it. So we’ll all give the wrong answer (e.g., one line is longer than the other, while in fact they’re both the same length), except that the better educated might want to measure the lines, to be sure. IOW, they’ll trust less their vision and try to “compensate” for the perceptual shortcomings by other, more reliable, means.

  270. oao says:

    I’ve said it before and I say it again, I’m very uncomfortable with the notion of “Truth” (I immediately associate it with Pravda).

    philosophy and logic have dealt with notions of truth — the scientific one, the political one, etc. education should inculcate those concepts and distinctions and how to discern one vs. the other.

    it’s not being done AT ALL and people have no systematic knowledge of the whole subject.

  271. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG says,

    Whatever you name them and whatever capacity you attribute them, the point of education is to gain some control over emotive or emotion-induced states. If 2+2 nicely fits into 6 or 3 (’cause they’re roundish whilst 4 is straight and angled and curves are more appealing to my aesthetic sense – but that’s only a rationalisation of some electro-chemical circuit), I’d better have some checking mechanism/routine that will indicate that aesthetics is lovely but irrelevant to an addition task.

    I am sorry I am failing to explain myself in a way that you can understand. I am saying that emotion is not aesthetics. Emotion is how brains of all higher animals select behavior. Emotions are the brain’s survival currency. We could not select behavior without emotion.

    You are interpreting emotion as feeling. Feeling is just our conscious awareness of a small portion of the emotions we experience and that constantly flood our brain, guiding us to select one behavior over others.

    Because we have learned (we believe) that we use our rational intelligence to select our behavior – and it is insulting to believe that we follow our emotions, minds tend to snap shut upon exposure to such an insulting notion – even of I am using emotion in a different way from feelings. The evidence or argument for this position is then rejected without consideration – because the brain realizes that to consider it would jeopardize our comfortable belief in our own intellectual autonomy and our ability not to be swayed by emotions.

    Emotions are the psychological forces behind behavior selection, even when we use reason. It is the force behind reason, that first calls it to action when we sense emotionally that we need to apply reason to a predicament. Emotions gives the results of our reason the potency to compete with emotions from other sources such as instinct, habit, etc. Reason does not always win that contest – nor does it always produce objectively accurate results. But it’s a survival tool that no other animals posses in any significant amount.

  272. Ray in Seattle says:

    Here’s an interesting talk by scientist Jonathon Drori on what we think we know.

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jonathan_drori_on_what_we_think_we_know.html

  273. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    I don’t reject your thesis. I just don’t think I have sufficient evidence to accept it. IOW, I agree emotion plays a role in shaping behaviour, I’m far from convinced it controls all behaviour.
    BTW, I didn’t mean emotion is aesthetics (or some other sense) – it’s the (aesthetic) appeal/aversion we sense, without necessarily being aware of it.

  274. E.G. says:

    So now that the evidence fails to confirm the Haaretz “war crimes” allegation, what happens?

  275. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG – Cool, I’m not looking for acceptance. It’s just difficult to explain and I struggle with doing it better. Thanks for your feedback though. Does it seem to you as if my theory is attempting to replace a more conventional one in your mind re: how brains produce behavior? What is that theory? That, being human, we think our way through life – or something like that? Is that a real theory or is it just what society has come to accept? I have been unable to find a psychological theory that covers this at the same level of explanation as mine – a conceptual framework as in what’s the mechanism and how does it work?.

    But you ask what happens now that Haaretz has been disgraced for publishing libelous nonsense. Nothing, of course. Those who hold the strong emotional belief that Israel is a Nazi-like state brutally oppressing innocent Palestinians to steal their land will keep on believing that. No amount of “reason” or evidence will change their mind. Instead they will employ their intellect to justify their conclusions. They will say that “of course the IDF will find itself innocent of all crimes – isn’t that what any oppressive Nazi regime would do”? And that explanation will seem perfectly sensible to them because it’s an explanation that “proves” their higher level belief in Israel’s oppressive nature.

    I think editorials to that effect are being typed up as we speak.

  276. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    There is no serious comprehensive psychological theory of general human behaviour, for the simple (?) reason that human behaviour is very complex. There are quite a few theories, each focusing on some aspect(s). Tons of papers (and a few theories) on belief and attitude formation and change, on individual and group level, for example, and there are so many variables implicated, going from personality traits to situational contingencies… Introducing neuro-psychological or -psychiatric factors has just begun so yours has no concurrence. Perhaps that’s what i find a bit disturbing/hard to accept: the unique source or process that explains it all.

    Regarding Haaretz’s calumnies, I too see “Nothing, of course.” And suspect that no editorials are being typed at all. Netanyahu’s new govt. is news, past groundless allegations are none.

    Who will listen to this?
    http://www.soldiersspeakout.com/

  277. Cynic says:

    I have come to see emotions as the way brains assign survival relevance to what we observe and what happens to us in life.

    Ray,
    I’m using your defn., in conjunction with the example I included above and which #286 obsy criticised, sarcastically he thought, but which maybe because I was rather obtuse did not get my meaning across.
    Here we have, because of the picture, people at the butt of the magazine’s criticism who fail to analyse correctly the lie.
    Yes, the education system has been broken a long time and in the “wild” the great majority of the West’s bi-pedal primates would be dead because they lack the emotion to warn them of impending danger. They were not taught to “recognise” that emotion.

    With all that has passed by, people are still very gullible and accept the state of the stables without even holding their breath or blinking.
    They don’t question anything.

    Yes, it is easy to talk, but we get distracted many times with the dross, and don’t make the effort to get back on track, that we can be manipulated into believing, for example, that the President is responsible for something which according to the constitution only Congress has the power to handle.

    It seems to me that there are several layers of “education”: the innate that comes genetically, the signals to be recognised, taught by the parents, the lessons learned through experience and the didactic stuff of schools and colleges.
    To function correctly they must be interrelated but failures in one or more departments is short circuiting cognition.
    We cannot multi-task all at the same intensity so we must choose and we have lost the ability to identify and grade in order of importance to our survival.

  278. Cynic says:

    With regard to what happens now that Haaretz ….
    The stables continue filthy.

    Here’s a bit about the NYT
    A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a “a game changer.”

    This will continue until enough people have been burnt and decide to do something about the media not being messengers but actively engaging in partisan operations.

  279. oao says:

    This will continue until enough people have been burnt and decide to do something about the media not being messengers but actively engaging in partisan operations.

    are you sure you want the public, in its current state to get more involved? are you sure it’ll do better than alibama? do you believe that it’ll even perceive that it’s being burned?

    i do not have such expectation. the west and now america too is gone. whatever remains is not what it’s been and it’ll never be that again. it can only get worse.

  280. Cynic says:

    oao,

    You have to admit that the making of a cult out of alibama was a MSM thing.
    That there are idiots who follow is a given but there must also be some in America who will realise at some stage that the MSM misled them.

    We became a nation by throwing off a king, and our Founders gave us a Constitution that’s based on the notion that all men are flawed and none should be trusted with too much power.

    But then they threw out the lessons of their roots to take on the religious practices of environmentalism, secularism and started worshiping “role models” of the entertaining kind.

  281. obsy says:

    I guess it was hard for Noam to write these lines, but I’m glad that he did it:

    “It’s good to hear that the army investigated these incidents, and I do hope that the events described by the soldiers never actually happened. I am, however, concerned by the fact that the army doesn’t check all the other evidences of misconduct during operation Cast Lead – use of illegal weapons, looting, and other cases of reported intentional killings.”

    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=779

    I wish Haaretz would have at least this much of decency that a leftwing Journalist has. Especially when this Journalist is (still) so far detached from reality that he believes that 30% of the people in Israel (incl. West Bank and Gaza) are on the verge of starvation:

    “And on top of all, with 30 percent of the population not having any rights and living on the verge of starvation?”

    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=747

    The people in Gaza and the West Bank are fed well by the UNRWA so that they can reproduce quickly. Noam, if you want to see starving people, take a look at Africa, South East Asia or to a lesser degree South America. The Palestinians get all the food that they need without even having to work for it. And despite all attempts from the left to describe Gaza as a place of genocide – the opposite stays true: the Number of people in Gaza is growing fast. Very fast!

    But for now:
    Congrats Noam!
    You are doing better than Haaretz.

  282. obsy says:

    oao, I think that I made a mistake by arguing with you.
    It is reasonable that you continue to think the way you are used to. You seem to be good at it.

    I think you are relatively good prepared for 21th century media warfare. Adapting an unfamiliar way of thinking would require lot’s of training at least. And probably lot’s of mistakes for quite some time.

    Insights in to the human mind is not always necessary if you stay close to the data. If you know from experience, that a leftist will act that or that way when he is confronted with this or that – then you don’t need a fancy theory for it. This holds especially true for lots of minds – cultures.

  283. oao says:

    we have lost the ability to identify and grade in order of importance to our survival.

    because we did not have to defend it for quite a while, so we became decadent and decayed.

    You have to admit that the making of a cult out of alibama was a MSM thing.

    What makes you think that MSM is not an integral component of the same society, and therefore of the same intellect?

    That there are idiots who follow is a given but there must also be some in America who will realise at some stage that the MSM misled them.

    but the MSM followed too, except they have the megaphone to make the other idiots follow.

    i doubt it. if we agree that the education collapsed, what mechanism is there to reverse idiocy?

    and even if some will realize it, there’ll be too few and it’ll be too late.

    it’s over.

  284. oao says:

    oao, I think that I made a mistake by arguing with you.

    there is nothing wrong with arguing. it’s always a good exercise.

    I think you are relatively good prepared for 21th century media warfare.

    perpared for what, western suicide? the only advantage i have is my age: i hope to not live through the ultimate end.

  285. oao says:

    In the name of “change,” Barack Obama is following policies so old that this generation has never heard of them– certainly not in most of our educational institutions, where history has been replaced by “social studies” or other politically correct courses.

    A Rookie President
    http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2009/03/31/a_rookie_president

  286. oao says:

    real knowledge would make a difference, ain’t it?

    http://www.danielpipes.org/6257/arabs-israelis-and-underdogs

  287. oao says:

    “If you had any doubt that bad craziness is on the rise in America, here’s an LA Times report on the increasing number of California parents who refuse to let their children be vaccinated, because of pseudo-scientific fear-mongering by fringe groups.”>/i>

    now why would craziness be “on the rise”?

  288. Ray in Seattle says:

    Dan Pipes has an interesting article today bearing directly on both the I/P conflict and people’s perceptions of it – and the role of emotion vs conscious cognition in appraisals of the conflict.

    http://www.danielpipes.org/6257/arabs-israelis-and-underdogs

  289. oao says:

    “I arrived early, in order to become familiar with the Synagogue, never having been to Tifereth Israel before. I first went to the lounge area outside of the community room. In the community room, Ms Gabriel and a panel of local congregation members were hosting a large number of educators from the Des Moines area. High School, Middle and Grammar School teachers, numbering well over one hundred, were at the Question and Comment point. I listened in for awhile, but the questions were mostly inane, suggesting that most of the invited attendees had little comprehension of the nature of Islamic extremism. I heard the words tolerance and diversity in numbers too large to count. I felt I was at risk of having a brain numbing experience, so I went to the sanctuary.”

    http://www.solomonia.com/blog/

  290. oao says:

    must watch:

    Algerian author: ‘In all honesty, the Arabs are backward, and are not fit for civilization at all’

    http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/04/algerian-author-in-all-honesty-arabs.html

    and noam is obsessed with israel.

  291. oao says:

    and so is education:

    Dumb UK ‘heading back to the Dark Ages’ thanks to cult of celebrity
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1166255/Dumb-UK-heading-Dark-Ages-thanks-cult-celebrity-says-senior-Tory.html

  292. Eliyahu says:

    oao, do you notice that on your comment #317, a woman has commented on the Mail article about Liam Fox’s opinion? She thinks that the fall of education is planned. Maybe she’s right.
    Anyhow, I see that the disease of dumbing down is flourishing in Merry Olde England too. It’s truly a transatlantic phenomenon. Eat, Drink and Be merry, for tomorrow…

    Obsy, re your comment #304. I’m sure that many more people are starving in other places in the world than Gaza. But even if the inhabitants of Gaza are not starving, we can pretend that they are and blame it on the Jews. Who cares if they starve in Sudan or Mozambique. Starvation is of no interest if it cannot be blamed on the Jew of the nations, cioe` Israele.

    obsy, you might ask your true blue Marxist-Leninist comrades in France [is that where you live?] why they take no interest in the exploited foreign workers in Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, Ras al-Khaima, the Wahhabite Kingdom and so on.

  293. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle #312

    The paper illustrates what I argued a few days ago – perceptual illusions. A circle surrounded by smaller ones seems larger than a (same diameter) circle surrounded by larger ones.

  294. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    You should have mentioned Zimbabwe. But that’s OK cause Mugabe is doing it.
    Dying of starvation, intestinal diseases because there is no potable water and so on. Dried out of emotion as there is no Juice.
    The people of Gaza are not starving, but when Hamas only permits the bakeries that it controls to open and sell bread/pita, causing massive queues which is heartrending to the western audiences, that of course is all because of the Jews.

  295. obsy says:

    Eliyahu,

    No, I don’t live in France. But it is a nice place to visit. Maybe I’ll move someday.

  296. obsy says:

    oao: “prepared for what, western suicide?”

    No, prepared to recognize the lies. Prepared so that you won’t fall prey and join the “dark side of the force”.

  297. obsy says:

    Ray: “Therefore one must first learn (acquire) the very high level belief that acquiring only objective and rational beliefs is a desirable task that should be part of one’s personality (identity).”

    Yes, I haven’t thought of it that way. If your brain sees that something you believe is not really based on facts, it has to decide change either this or that very high level belief of rationality.

  298. oao says:

    No, prepared to recognize the lies. Prepared so that you won’t fall prey and join the “dark side of the force”.

    sure, but what difference will it make under sharia?

    If your brain sees that something you believe is not really based on facts, it has to decide change either this or that very high level belief of rationality.

    most people don’t know what rationality is if it bit them on the ass. the most fanatical of religious believers think they are rational.

  299. Ray in Seattle says:

    obsy said (323) If your brain sees that something you believe is not really based on facts, it has to decide change either this or that very high level belief of rationality.

    It’s even more complex than that. The brain will have difficulty seeing the factual basis for anything that disagrees with any strongly held emotional beliefs it already holds. It will reject the source. It will reject and not consider contrary evidence, etc. even before it reaches the level of conscious cognitive consideration in the brain.

    Once a brain accepts a belief and uses it successfully for behavior selection – it will only want to reinforce it in the future. It will not question its logical accuracy when its emotional accuracy has already been demonstrated. Brains treat emotion as tokens of survival. Brains ignore reason that contradicts those emotional tokens.

    For example, a kid who is indoctrinated at an early age in parochial or Sunday School – and who receives consistent positive reinforcement for her work and attendance, such as praise from parents and important adults like pastors – will develop an immunity to atheism. Arguments against Christianity and religion increasingly will fall on ears that can not hear those arguments and evidence. If the evidence gets into the mind – that mind will not be able to rationally consider such arguments.

    Paradoxically, that person could grow up to be a biological scientist, surrounded daily by irrefutable evidence of Darwinian evolution. Such is the power of emotional belief. That’s the level of belief, and then some, that partisans to violent conflict harbor in their minds.

    That’s why the Noams and Chomskys and Carters are out there. The question is: are the Karsentys and Landeses and Greenes more rational and less emotional in their conclusions. Based on my own examination of the data their conclusions seem more rational to me. But, how do I know for sure? I know that Noam’s and Chomsky’s and Carter’s conclusions seem just as rational to them.

    Emotional brains can make irrational conclusions seem perfectly rational. That’s the human enigma.

  300. oao says:

    those who are never trained to think rationally and are not taught what rationality vs. emotions is have little chance of being conscious that they are emotional rather than rational, they don’t have the conception.

    training them so — and training them WELL, which is even less likely to happen — does not guarantee that they will be always rational, but at least gives them a chance.

    it’s not an enigma to me. the brains can be emotional, the question is is there anything we can do about it in childhood and youth. the answer is, yes but we don’t.

  301. oao says:

    how rational will they be, you think, when they grow up?

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/025497.php

  302. oao says:

    maybe noam can give us his enlightened assessment of the morality of our partners in peace?

    Israel: Axe-wielding jihadist kills teenager, stabs 7-year-old; Hamas says it’s part of “resistance”
    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/025491.php

  303. oao says:

    or this:

    Chief Islamic cleric of Palestinian Authority: Death to those who sell land to Jews
    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/025490.php

  304. Ray in Seattle says:

    (#332) Good article and comments. Thanks

  305. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    It’s even more complex than that. The brain will have difficulty seeing the factual basis for anything that disagrees with any strongly held emotional beliefs it already holds. It will reject the source. It will reject and not consider contrary evidence, etc. even before it reaches the level of conscious cognitive consideration in the brain.

    I can sympathise with this as the other day I had an argument with an “engineer” about heating water with solar heating, which in his case at home was back to front.
    There was no obvious fact that he could get his brain around to understand his problem. His spacial aptitude seemed limited to the simple physics of hot – up, cold – down. He could not visualise other factors complicating matters.

    People have to be trained to have an open mind to visualise and possibly imagine hidden factors before “going to press”.

  306. obsy says:

    Brilliant article:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1238562898606&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Here is the main part (imho):
    “DUE TO the Olmert-Livni government’s unconditional acceptance of the PLO’s position, today conditional Israeli acceptance of the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state, along the lines of the Sharon government’s conditional acceptance of the road map, is no longer sufficient. Now, as Europe, the US and regional actors are all making clear, Israel must accept that its own right to exist is contingent on the establishment of a Palestinian state – regardless of its character or the identity of the Palestinian leadership. That is, if Israel doesn’t accept the legitimacy of a Hamas or Fatah-ruled Palestinian terror state in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza, then it has no right to exist.”

    I also like this formulation: “Europe’s decision to launch a preemptive strike against the Netanyahu government”

    For our “moral” west a suspicion suffices to condemn Israel. But when Muslims scream for the destruction of the Jews it is “mere rhetoric”.

  307. obsy says:

    oao: “maybe noam can give us his enlightened assessment of the morality of our partners in peace?”

    He is to busy thinking about “dead white male”.

    After all, it is not his job to care about the immorality of Arabs. He is something like the self-proclaimed guardian of Jewish morality. If the Arab counterpart of Noam is not doing his job properly, it is not Noam’s fault.

    Problem is that there are too many Noams in Israel:
    “In the wake of yesterday’s terror attack, Ha’aretz reports that Israeli security forces fear the residents of Bat Ayin or neighboring towns will try to avenge the murder of 16-year-old Shlomo Nativ.

    Because that’s the main concern now. Not that more terrorist attacks will be attempted.”

    http://www.israellycool.com/2009/04/03/the-day-in-israel-fri-apr-3rd-2009/

  308. oao says:

    There was no obvious fact that he could get his brain around to understand his problem. His spacial aptitude seemed limited to the simple physics of hot – up, cold – down. He could not visualise other factors complicating matters.

    engineers are the least likely to be capable of that, because of the way they’re schooled.

    there is the famous story that i heard when i was at the technion that an exam asked engineers to devise a pipe large enough to carry tons of blood a large distance. all the engineers worked on it without one asking “but WHY is such a pipe needed?”. doesn’t have so much to do with emotions, but rather with the way of thinking that is instilled into them. natural scientists, who also deal with matter and not humans, are also somewhat like that. matter does not lie.

    Because that’s the main concern now. Not that more terrorist attacks will be attempted.”

    stands to reason if they internalized the crap that the world is dumping on israel. in fact, that’s very similar to what wiselthier said about judt et. al.: they they replicate anti-semitism. if eveybody is telling you that you’re horrible, at some point you start believing it’s a possibility and that if you just become better, they’ll get off you.

  309. obsy says:

    oao,

    there are many lies in natural science business.

    There are many lies in science itself, too.
    For example: don’t believe anyone who claims that he can compute the climate fifty years into the future. (Maybe it will get wormer, but their models base completely on the climate that the can observe. And even there they fail to really integrate cloud formation – which will of cause play an increasing role when the sea gets wormer.)

    But in a way you are right. The students deal with facts.

    I’ll skip some exceptions.

  310. oao says:

    there are many lies in natural science business.
    There are many lies in science itself, too.

    i was talking about the subject of study not lying, not about those who study it. natural scientists are human and therefore lie; what they study doesn’t lie. so when they get into human behavior they are easy to fool.

    natural facts and human behavior facts are different animals.

  311. simon says:

    It is unfortunate that the media does not need evidence any more and rhetoric and hearsay is used in place of truth. The question is sometimes whether people should read these at all?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/04/opinion/04bisharat.html

  312. obsy says:

    oao,

    actually you were talking about scientists (“natural scientists, who also deal with matter and not humans, are also somewhat like that“).
    And you are doing it again:
    so when they get into human behavior they are easy to fool.

    There are reasons why natural scientists might be more easy to fool. There are also reasons why they might be less easy to fool.

    If we want to talk about natural science topics, there are some that can help against being fooled: statistics, modeling, ethology, etc.

  313. oao says:

    There are reasons why natural scientists might be more easy to fool. There are also reasons why they might be less easy to fool.

    on the subject of human behavior/b> they are easier to fool. the evidence comes from people who made careers of testing those trying to fool, like randi. read what he has to say about scientists.

  314. Cynic says:

    oao, obsy,

    Reading the following link
    A Curious Case of Censorship

    I came across this passage which I consider rather illustrative:
    All of which is clear enough (despite the evasive definition of science as consisting of techniques and processes rather than an attitude toward truthful explanation which scientific methods embody and express). But will the Institute have the courage of its revivified secular convictions? Those whose ears are sensitive to religious overtones can only read what follows with misgiving.
    The Committee believes that the Institute can assist greatly in providing Aborigines with a repository of knowledge which can assist in the confirmation of those aspects of Aboriginal life and culture that are central to the whole concept of Aboriginal identity.
    It remains to be seen how anthropologists will succeed in combining the central western tradition of disinterested inquiry with the “confirmation” of Aboriginal life and culture—especially when the confirmation is of patently false beliefs about oneself and one’s community, and archaic patterns of the sacred and the profane.

  315. oao says:

    All of which is clear enough (despite the evasive definition of science as consisting of techniques and processes rather than an attitude toward truthful explanation which scientific methods embody and express).

    there is a reason why method occupies such a critical place in science: because truthfulness is expressed via the method and if there is failure in method, chances are there won’t be truth of results.

    however, one can fool the ignorant with poor method masquerading as sophistication, thus lying. that is why one cannot really be a scientist unless he masters (a) the scientific method (b) the philosophy of science (c) science ethics.

    when i entered the academic world, those were the areas i made sure i specialized it and i was lucky to find a dept that was still instilling them. but during my academic period they gradually stopped teaching this and the dept was taken over by leftist ideologues who had no clue about those things and were quite derisive about it. they were producing output that drove me up the wall. that’s one of the main reasons i left academia.

  316. obsy says:

    oao,

    OK, who is “randi” and where can I find his texts?

  317. oao says:

    james randi — the amazing randi — is a magician who has made a career out of testing paranormal claims. do a search on james randi foundation.

    unfortunately i don’t recall where exactly he argues about scientists being gullible, could have been in his books, videos, lectures, etc.

    if the subject in general interests you, go through his stuff and you may stumble upon it.

  318. [...] The ceredibility of these charges has since been seriously impugned and they are, in any event, extremely distorted. See here. [...]

  319. Cynic says:

    Heh! Have just read the following criticism of the literary editor of the New Republic, Leon Wieseltier and a newly defined syndrome relating to his criticism of IDF action in Gaza:

    In the absence of imaginative vigor, of the ability to see oneself in the situation one describes, the theaplegic intellectual can neither sustain nor validate his seemingly noble pronunciamentos. I propose we name the syndrome, which is highly contagious, after one of its most prominent sufferers and call it Wieselteritis. Unfortunately, no cure has yet been found for it.

    The New Republic and the Mind Minus Imagination

  320. oao says:

    the irony is that he is guilty of exactly the same sin he accused judt of: that he replicates, rather than rejects anti-semitism. for he internalized the accusations against the IDF which were false, rather than reject them on the evidence. but being a salon intellectual, it was inevitable that he would reach that point himself.

    the kind of absolute morality which these socialites propound is a deadly luxury for those who need to make life and death situations in order to survive.

    the ONLY way for them to comprehend what morality really means in real, rather than abstract intellectual life, is to put them in real life circumstances. i suspect that these salon moralists would behave contemptibly at first opportunity, worse, much worse than they accuse others of doing.

    i would really like to see them in those circumstances.

  321. oao says:

    obsy,

    here’s a video by randi about his debunking uri geller, a faker of paranormal who was “tested” by scientists and passed.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/33330_Video-_Baba_Wawa_and_Uri_Geller_vs._James_Randi

  322. Margie says:

    I know that the conversation has changed but thought that this might be of some moment here, considering the blog’s central theme.

    Perhaps I’ve missed it but I see that nobody has posted Danny Zamir’s disclaimer and apology here. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1238562926523&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

    Some miluim officers have demanded that the government sues Haaretz for publishing the accusations without investigation of the facts. I was interested in whether Haaretz had made some slight reparation for the incalculable damage it has caused by printing the Zamir explanation, but couldn’t find it in an internet search.

  323. Cynic says:

    I was interested in whether Haaretz had made some slight reparation for the incalculable damage it has caused

    You must be joking.
    Most reporting from the MSM regarding Israel seems to be from the malicious point because generally integrity with regard to facts and context is sadly lacking in their work.

  324. oao says:

    Most reporting from the MSM regarding Israel seems to be from the malicious point because generally integrity with regard to facts and context is sadly lacking in their work.

    the current generation of journalists is not even aware of the concept of integrity. i very much doubt that it is in the vocabulary of current schools of journalism anymore.

    in that the western journalism has become similar to the arab/muslim media. both are pure advocacy/propaganda endeavors. after all there is no objective truth anyway.

  325. oao says:

    An interesting piece about Hitler’s library which has some bearing on my arguments about the effect lack of proper education:

    It is the library that allows us a close-up glimpse of Hitler’s worldview. Ryback shows him to be a man in possession of only the most basic education who, like many pseudo-intellectuals, was attracted to all-encompassing and ambitious views without possessing the tools to evaluate them. The books Hitler read did not change his perspective, but served only to strengthen it. He wasn’t interested in general works of history, or politics or architecture, works that would enable him to take a critical look at his half-baked philosophies.

    What Adolf Hitler’s book collection teaches us about its owner
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1077975.html

  326. oao says:

    unrelated, but quite revealing of the seriousness with which the west treats the conflict and how much they care about the pals. as usual, the EU are mostly self-obsessed and corrupt than anything else.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1169342/An-identity-crisis-Blair-Former-PM-describes-Jerusalem-home.html

  327. Eliyahu says:

    but oao, you know that “formal education” nowadays can be rather intellectually destructive, debasing and degrading. To say “misleading” would be too mild.

  328. oao says:

    you know that “formal education” nowadays can be rather intellectually destructive

    of course, as i have pressing this myself. however,
    avineri referred to education during hitler’s youth and i am willing to suspect it was better than. hitler just skipped it.

  329. oao says:

    one more thing: the main point of the quote was that hitler was not inculcated with the intellectual tools to assess his inferences from his readings. it’s less important whether education at the time would have sold the problem–he just lacked the knowledge and ability to reason, period.

    now, it’s quite possible that even a proper education wouldn’t have solved his problem, this depends on his own capabilities. but without it the consequences were assured.

  330. obsy says:

    oao,

    here is a video of Randi’s lecture at Princeton 2001 talking a lot about scientists:
    video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4665376168764022836

    He does make some good points indeed.
    And some mistakes, too.

    ps: Randis next book will be about scientists. Sounds like a book that scientists definitively should read.

  331. obsy says:

    Another one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awYVKbP93p4

    Reminds me somewhat of Ellul …

  332. oao says:

    ray and others who are interested in the reason/emotions stuff, just found out about this books which seems intriguing, i am going to read it:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=MocSdi6LXCkC&dq=Antonio+R+Damasio&source=an&hl=en&ei=O9XuSfzsLpyKtgPztZXtAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&pgis=1

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