July 13, 2005

The Priceless Professor

Juan Cole doesn’t just poke around for facts to fit his opinions. (We all do that to an extent at least on occasion.) Instead he hallucinates - or simply invents – his own “facts” to suit his agenda which, in this case, is blaming the September 11 attacks on the US and Israel.

According to the September 11 Commission report, al-Qaeda conceived 9/11 in some large part as a punishment on the US for supporting Ariel Sharon's iron fist policies toward the Palestinians. Bin Laden had wanted to move the operation up in response to Sharon's threatening visit to the Temple Mount, and again in response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp, which left 4,000 persons homeless. Khalid Shaikh Muhammad argued in each case that the operation just was not ready.
Anyone could have fact-checked this work of fiction, but Martin Kramer was the one who actually did it.
Did Cole read the same 9/11 report as the rest of us? There's not a single passage in the 9/11 report mentioning Sharon's (or Israel's) policies, and I challenge him to produce one. Cole just made it up. And in point of fact, the report's narrative definitively contradicts him.

[…]

The 9/11 operation could hardly have been "conceived" as a response to U.S. support for Sharon's "iron fist policies." It was conceived, its operatives were selected, and it was put in motion, long before Sharon took the helm.

And what of Cole's claim that Bin Laden wanted to launch the attacks "in response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp, which left 4,000 persons homeless"? The Jenin operation took place in April 2002, seven months after 9/11.
Cole just figures that must have been the reason for 911, in utter defiance of all widely available evidence. What kind of person picks one of his pet causes and just assumes Al Qaeda attacked us for that particular reason?

Not only does he get his chronology (and hence his cause and effect) completely and utterly backwards, he just makes up out of thin air some of the glue that holds it together. I mean, look at this sentence:

Khalid Shaikh Muhammad argued in each case that the operation just was not ready.
How on earth could Khalid Shaikh Muhammad argue after the Jenin battle that the 911 attacks were not ready if the attacks had already taken place? He couldn’t, obviously. Every single sentence in that paragraph is a hallucination or a lie, even the final most innocuous one.

And that’s just the beginning. You really must read Kramer’s entire post from beginning to end to get an idea of just exactly how shameless and dishonest Juan Cole really is, in general and not just in this one particular post. It frankly boggles the mind.

And don’t miss Tony Badran’s fisking of Cole’s response (here and here) to the London attacks. Naturally Cole completely botched his analysis. Tony has been impaling Cole’s “analysis” on actual facts every single day for a week now. That may seem a bit obsessive, but as Tony himself says: “I'm sorry but the Professor is just priceless.”

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 13, 2005 06:58 PM
Comments

Juan Cole doesn’t just poke around for facts to fit his opinions. (We all do that to an extent at least on occasion.) Instead he hallucinates

It's Bush Derangement Syndrome. They've gone absolutely crazy. One Leftist by the name of Ted Rall is claiming Karl Rove is more dangerous than Osama bin Laden. I listened for a hint of irony or hyperbole. Nope, he meant every word of it.

Posted by: spaniard at July 13, 2005 07:32 PM

I haven't read the report myself. Obviously Cole is wrong about Jenin. That's like saying 2+2=5, and very hard to believe he really intended to say that.

But unless the Washington Post is simply making up quotes in the attached article, Kramer is also wrong when he says "there's not a single passage in the 9/11 report mentioning Sharon's (or Israel's) policies." Here's one from the main Post article the day after the report was released:

"The panel also portrays an ongoing high-level argument among bin Laden, Mohammed, Atta and others over the timing of the attacks. Bin Laden, the report says, "had been pressuring [Mohammed] for months to advance the attack date," asking that the attacks occur as early as mid-2000 after Ariel Sharon, then an Israeli cabinet minister, visited a Jerusalem site sacred to both Muslims and Jews. In 2001, Mohammed said, bin Laden pushed for a May 12 attack date -- exactly seven months after the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen -- and later for June or July, to coincide with a visit by Sharon to the White House.

"In both instances," the report says, Mohammed "insisted that the hijacker teams were not yet ready. Other al Qaeda detainees also confirm that the 9/11 attacks were delayed during the summer of 2001, despite bin Laden's wishes."

from June 16, 2004, Al Qaeda Scaled Back 10-Plane Plot by Dan Eggen

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A45853-2004Jun16?language=printer

Posted by: markus rose at July 13, 2005 09:06 PM

Markus, The attacks on 9/11 were planned at least 3 years before they happened. Bin Laden used the Palestinians because they were a convenient excuse and would help him gain prestige in the Arab world. Bin laden is an out and out opportunist. When Bin Laden bombed the African embassies in 1998 and the Cole in 2000 he didn't invoke Israel or Palestine then. Plain and simple these attacks were to kill Americans and discredit american power. He who kills the king becomes king.That is all the justification he needs.

Posted by: Mike at July 13, 2005 10:06 PM

Yet so many "Liberals" keep quoting him, including your friend Marc Cooper and supposedly reasonable Jay Rosen (Press Think). Jay recently suggests all should censor R. Novak for not repeating his Grand Jury testimony -- no invites, no talk shows, no attention paid to him.
I don't think this fair to Novak, until the investigation is over.

I DO think it appropriate for Juan Cole.

Don't you think he's the kind of "liberal" Rove was talking about?

I'm extremely glad you're trying to clean up the Liberals and trash the Leftists.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at July 14, 2005 04:50 AM

Heh, it's amazing Cole is still called an "expert." Remember when he claimed the ITM guys were CIA plants? Yeesh.

I think Professor Cole is just in the wrong field. He'd be a great fiction writer.

Actually, I guess he already is.

Posted by: TallDave at July 14, 2005 05:46 AM

>>>"Heh, it's amazing Cole is still called an "expert."

I hear he speaks arabic.

Posted by: spaniard at July 14, 2005 07:21 AM

Speaking Arabic is what gets Cole into trouble. He doesn't seem to actually do a lot of his own analysis, he nostly just digests other peoples' writing. In the case of the London bombing he seems to have pulled his analysis straight from the pages of Al Hayat, which of course as a British Muslim paper had a vested interest in denying the involvement of any British Muslims. Cole's attack on ITM was the same thing, if I remember correctly. He read some conspiracy mongering in the Arab press and decided he could take it at face value. Cole suffers from the same disease as Chomsky - he is good at ascribing sinister ulterior motives to the West, but he always assume that the 3rd world Press is sincere and straightforward. Wilfull naivete.

Posted by: vanya at July 14, 2005 08:14 AM

markus,
A reference to Sharon's visits to Jerusalem and to Washington are not the same as referring to Sharon's/Israel's policies.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 14, 2005 08:42 AM

This just falls in line with the rest of the tripe that the left uses against the policies this admin has in the GWOT.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 14, 2005 08:43 AM

Before all of you neo-rightwingers get yourselves into a tizzy, you might want to check out the always-reliable Likudnik Kramer's assertions. For the record, the "shameless and dishonest" Cole did correct himself:

T.P. points out by email that I should have said that the 9/11 Commission concluded that the timing of 9/11 was attributable to Sharon, not that the operation was largely conceived in response to him. This is correct; one writes blogs in haste and my phrasing was insufficiently careful. However, it is also my conviction based on intensive study of Bin Laden, Zawahiri and Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, that they largely conceived the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, which they coded as Jewish and Zionist, as a punishment for the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, the third holy city of Islam in their view. Al-Qaeda literature is obsessed with this issue, and Bin Laden tapes now being analyzed from Afghanistan show him giving long and passionate disquisitions on Jerusalem even in the late 1980s. The point is that radical Muslim fundamentalism has all along gotten big recruitment help and energy from Israeli expansionism, and the "war on terror" does have a historical context, which of course, has also to do with Western colonialism and its neocolonial legacy.

Cole does not figure that Sharon's actions must have been the reason for 9/11. He just makes the connection between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global muslim outrage, and Islamic terrorism. We don't even need Cole to make that connection, because Bin Laden himself has explicitly stated it as ONE of the reasons for Al-Quaeda's cause. That doesn't mean he is a champion for a just cause. He just uses it as a tool for recruitment to a cause that is devoted to establishing Fascist rule in the Muslim world. Most knowledgeable people involved in the WOT count a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict as a key weapon to be used against these fanatical groups. If you call building a wall through the middle of Jerusalem, in turn making the miserable everyday lives of Palestinians even more miserable, beneficial to bringing about a resolution, then you know either know nothing or are not serious about fighting Islamic terrorism, and you should excuse yourself from the discussion. By the way the Evil Professor also had this to say:

We are all Britishers at this moment of crisis, and must all stand with the innocent victims against the al-Qaeda cult of hatred.

Posted by: JohnMc at July 14, 2005 08:51 AM

Vanya,

Actually Cole got his crazy "theory" about ITM from the Martini Republic blog, a blog that I refuse to link even in a comments thread. I think he's mad at ITM because Omar and Mohammad busted him for promoting Saddam Hussein's version of Iraqi history. (Like you said, reading Arabic does sometimes get him into trouble.)

Still, there is no shortage of libelous conspiratorial nonsense written in English.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 14, 2005 08:55 AM

Cole's "Wilfull naivete" appears to be based on his sympathies with the current Ba'thist/Islamist campaign of "Arabization", or ethnic cleansing.

I was reading his site the other day, and, at the end of one of his typical anti-Israel rants, posted at July 11, 2005, at 5:06, titled Jerusalem and Terrorism he begged the folks at Daily Kos to dig up dirt to use in his war against Kramer:
PS the wonderful folks over at Daily Kos, to whom I am most grateful for defending me, should please do up an oppo research diary on Martin Kramer. Who is he? Where did he come from? When he was head of the Dayan Center in Tel Aviv, to whom did he report in the Israeli intelligence community? Who funded his work on Hizbullah? Was he fired from heading the Dayan Center? How does he suddenly show back up in the US after a 20-year absence with a book that blames unpreparedness for 9/11 on US professors of Middle East Studies instead of on the Israeli Mossad and the US CIA/ FBI? What was his role in getting up the Iraq War and in advising the US on the wrong-headed policies that have gotten so many Americans killed? Who pays his salary, now, exactly? What are his links with AIPAC, and with the shadowy world of far-right Zionist think tanks and dummy organizations? I.e., don't let Kramer tie you up with his salvoes on minutiae.
The Kossacks (who proudly call themselves that) responded quickly with this post:
Juan Cole asks for help from Kossacks
by ctkeith
Mon Jul 11th, 2005 at 08:32:23 PDT

Cole rips Sharon to threads and even calls him "sort of state-backed terrorist " after ripping him for his newest plan to build a wall in Jerusalem seperating the city into 2 parts.
In a post script end of he asks for help from the
"wonderful folks over at Daily Kos"
Lets not let Juan Cole down.

Cole's request was pathetic enough, but then Cole tried to hide his pathetic-ness by deleting the "oh, DailyKos, you're my only hope" request.

It really does boggle the mind..

Posted by: mary at July 14, 2005 08:55 AM

JohnMc,

The problem with Cole and all the other "here's why they kill us" analysts is that it's all utter BS. It doesn't matter if they say they committed 9/11 because of Sharon's plan or because the Queen of the Space Unicorns told them to, because it's all a lie anyway. They don't care about the Palestinians any more than than Saddam Hussein or Yasir Arafat did. It's an excuse to for crazy people to kill and seize power, and if they didn't have that excuse they'd invent another, or another, or another.

Treating al-Qaeda like rational people is stupid and counterproductive.

Posted by: TallDave at July 14, 2005 09:07 AM

Was he fired from heading the Dayan Center?

Wow. Cole is just a harmless academic, no?

In other words, Cole put a hit on this Kramer guy. He's a rightwinger, and evil, and therefore fair game. This is how the new intellectuals wage their war of ideas. It's fairly typical of the Left I've come to know and love lately.

Posted by: spaniard at July 14, 2005 09:08 AM

“Bush Derangement Syndrome”

That succinctly says it all. These people are getting crazier all the time. They are enraged by their weakening position in American society.

Posted by: David Thomson at July 14, 2005 09:13 AM

think he's mad at ITM because Omar and Mohammad busted him for promoting Saddam Hussein's version of Iraqi history.

Just for the record, it was actually Ali who tore Cole a new one, just before he made the move to his own blog and while O&M were here in the states. (nit picking.. sorry)

Posted by: Lydia at July 14, 2005 09:15 AM

More on Cole's attempt at character assasination:

Martin Kramer saw Cole's request, and he wrote a response

Kramer says:

"The odd thing is that Cole later removed his fatwa against me from his site. Maybe he realized that it might be played back to him every time he laments the "new McCarthyism." or gets huffy about Campus Watch. Well, it will get played back. Here's the president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), a man who's supposed to represent the conscience of his field, deliberately launching a campaign of what he calls "oppo research"--politically-motivated dirt-digging for the purposes of character assassination. I have a hard time taking Cole seriously, which may be why my rejoinder to him is so tongue-in-cheek. But lots of misguided people do take him seriously, so I'll just have to keep at it."

Cole is the president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association? Academia is doomed.

Posted by: mary at July 14, 2005 09:24 AM

We need to drive the story of the Iranian Journalist Akbar Ganji to the Am people and the free world.

OK folks where are the LL and the MSM in showing their outrage re the recent atrocityies of this religion of peace as some pretend it to be.

Islamofascism is no different than cult-like religious movements of David Koresch and the CoolAid followers of Jim Jones.

Why can't the LL and the MSM understand this. AQ will shove it up our @#$ where the sun doesn't shine if we don't figure this out soon.

This is not a time for apologists nor the LL and the MSM "rooting" for the enemy in the GWOT.

Do you want to help?

Well here's your chance. See this comment at LGF and drive this story to the American people and the free world. And in so doing ram it down the throats of the LL and the MSM that are so blind they cannot see.

Lord help us and MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA!
[Of course of your choosing or not]

We need to drive the story of the Iranian Journalist Akbar Ganji to the Am people and the free world.

LGF Link

Posted by: Ron Wright at July 14, 2005 09:43 AM

I also am impatient with the folks who said in response to 9/11, "what's wrong with us?", when the only sane response should have been, "what's wrong with them?" It is true that if there were a peacefull, reasonably fair resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tomorrow, Bin Laden and his fellow religio-fascists would not change their ways, because their ultimate goal of bringing the gift of Taliban rule to the Muslim world had not been achieved. You are correct in saying that they don't care about the Palestinians. Al-Qaeda would kill them too if it meant power for them. They only use them as a tool, in the exact same way that Arafat and Hussein did. This doesn't change the fact that an improved situation in Palestine considerably blunts that tool which al-Qaeda uses. Bin Laden would be weaker, and that is the aim of the WOT.

Bin Laden and his ilk may be religious nuts, but that doesn't mean that he does not act rationally. Religion, by itself, is the antithesis of reason, but 99% of people in the world are of a religious faith and are still capable of thinking rationally. Every attack that happens is carried about by a very carefull, deliberative, rational process. Assuming that they are capable of acting rationally is anything but "stupid and counter-productive", it is deadly necessary.

Posted by: John Mc at July 14, 2005 09:46 AM

oh yeah, that was in response to Tall Dave

Posted by: john Mc at July 14, 2005 09:46 AM

"The point is that radical Muslim fundamentalism has all along gotten big recruitment help and energy from Israeli expansionism..."

The recruitment help and energy come from Israel's very existence, which is a rejection and refutation of Muslim theological supersessionism, and from Israel's success, which is an embarrassment to the perennially stagnant Muslim world. And "expansionism"? Have you looked at a map of the region, or of the Muslim world? Israel is barely visible, and in a very real struggle for survival. If she were expansionist, she would not have given back the vast and strategic Sinai in return for a cold peace, nor would she withdraw from historically significant Gaza this summer.

The modern liberal West will have its homicidal despisers with or without a resolution of the question of who has sovereignty over that tiny piece of real estate called the West Bank. Our despisers give us no credit for how we in the West have assisted Muslims in Kosovo, Iraq, and elsewhere, and do not despise us less in measured proportion to how much less "reason" they have to be angry. Their culture generates the mentality of grievance, in part by playing on the canard of neocolonialism, rather than taking responsibility for its own genuine failures. And that, my friend, is the liberal perspective on this matter.

Posted by: Yaakov at July 14, 2005 10:05 AM

Another "harmless" academic:

College Professor Implicated as London Bombing Mastermind

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,15933665-2,00.html

Posted by: spaniard at July 14, 2005 10:31 AM

Bin Laden and his ilk may be religious nuts, but that doesn't mean that he does not act rationally
Umm, yeah, actually it does, because that's what "nuts" means. But it's good you can (sort of) recognize the fact that the things they claim to care about are not important, though you seem to be missing the implications of that understanding.

This doesn't change the fact that an improved situation in Palestine considerably blunts that tool which al-Qaeda uses
Like I said, it doesn't matter. He'll just find some other disingenuous imaginary grievance. Until we all convert to his brand of fascist Islam, he'll have plenty more tools from the same box where that came from. We should help the Pals become free and democratic and prosperous, but because it's the right thing to do, not because of Osama and his ilk.

Religion, by itself, is the antithesis of reason
Untrue, religion was man's first fumbling attempt to assign rational causes to natural phenomenae. You're confusing reason with empiricism and materialism.

Every attack that happens is carried about by a very carefull, deliberative, rational process.
No, it's a very careful, deliberate, utterly irrational process.

Assuming that they are capable of acting rationally is anything but "stupid and counter-productive", it is deadly necessary.
They may act pragmatically, but their core reasons for doing so remain totally irrational. It's fine to say they can rationally look both ways before crossing the street to blow up a school full of kids, but to assign the least bit of motivation for their actions to the Palestinian situation or anything else remains stupid and counterproductive. It's like saying "Well, one reason women are raped is because of the way they dress."

Posted by: TallDave at July 14, 2005 11:58 AM

As I noted in my first post over 15 hours ago, Cole wrote something transparently absurd, and apparently has since corrected himself.

Martin Kramer responded with an outright falsehood. So far, he has not corrected himself. And Martin Kramer fans reading this post, predictably, couldn't care less.

"There's not a single passage in the 9/11 report mentioning Sharon's (or Israel's) policies, and I challenge him to produce one. "

see page 250 and 251 of the report, in section 7 of the PDF file located here: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/

Posted by: markus rose at July 14, 2005 12:40 PM

Markus,

as Kramer said, there's not a single passage in the 9/11 report mentioning Sharon's policies, and you have yet to produce such a passage.

Posted by: at July 14, 2005 01:24 PM

Posted by: spaniard at July 14, 2005 01:25 PM

Markus,
The report discusses Sharon's VISITS, not his or Israel's POLICIES.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 14, 2005 01:26 PM

Yaakov,

I call being forced off the generations long family farm by the point of a gun 'expansionism'. I call bulldozing Palestinian homes to make room for Israeli settlers 'expansionism'. You claim as an example
Sharon's planned pullout from Gaza, yet you conveniently forget the concurrent increased pace of settlement building in the West Bank.

You can throw up your hands all you want, and say "oh it doesn't matter, they're always going to hate the jews." It does matter. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is related to the war on terrorism. President Bush is on record as saying that a resolution there will help the war. The chief neocon himself, Paul Wolfowitz, stood up in front of a very pro-Israel rally and talked (to a chorus of boos) about recognizing the suffering of the Palestinians and bringing democracy to the middle east. That big softy on terrorism, Christopher Hitchens, cited as one of his reasons for supporting Bush was that he thought Bush would be a check on Sharon's power (I shook my head in disbelief, he was wrong on that), and hence make a resolution more possible. The wrongs perpetrated against the Palestinians fuels the fires of Muslim outrage, and makes it easier for al-qaeda to recruit. Terrorism or not, al-qaeda or not, these wrongs need to be righted. The fact that it helps Al-qaeda makes it even more unacceptable.

Posted by: John Mc at July 14, 2005 02:18 PM

John Mc,

what a load of crap. I wish you so-called experts would get your basic facts right. I just got done debunking a Lefty on another blog making the same ridiculous claims.

Settlements have not displaced palestinians from their homes. Palestinians were displaced by the war in 1948-- NOT by post 1967 settlements.

Arab homes have been bulldozed when they were used as sniper nests, when they were used to conceal smuggling tunnels, and when they pop up without permits.

Posted by: spaniard at July 14, 2005 02:36 PM

I hope all of these conspiracy theories by people like Cole who should know better are saved for posterity and future dissertation fodder.

"Bush Derangement Syndrome". Ahh, a Krauthammer reference. I love that guy's commentary, even if he is a dirty, filthy, err, neocon.

Posted by: Lisa at July 14, 2005 03:04 PM

TallDave,

Al-qaeda are dangerous religious nuts in the same way that psychopaths are dangerous. Psychopaths are clinically crazy, but they are rational enough to pass themselves off as normal and carry out whatever is necessary to get what they want. The young terrorists in the London bombing were told by their superiors to not go around looking too pious in order to appear normal. In order to carry out their fanatical aims they will use cool reason, even though the root cause of their behavior stems from irrationality. The CIA doesn't assume they are incapable of acting in a rational.

"He'll just find some other disingenuous imaginary grievance. Until we all convert to his brand of fascist Islam, he'll have plenty more tools from the same box where that came from."

One of the fronts of the WOT is taking away the tools that they use. Maybe they will replace them, maybe they won't, still they have to be taken away. The Palestinian cause is a very easy button to push, and it won't be easy to replace it as a tool. We both agree that with or without terrorism, some of the Palestinian grievances need to be addressed. It's just the right thing to do.

"Untrue, religion was man's first fumbling attempt to assign rational causes to natural phenomenae. You're confusing reason with empiricism and materialism."

Oh, thanks for clearing my confusion up. "it's raining, that means that God is pissing on us," yeaahh, that's really rational there. Religion, or irrational belief, shuts the door on reason. As soon as you ask yourself the question, "how can someone have a virgin birth?", or "are those 40 virgins really going to be waiting for me if i blow these people up?" , faith dies a little bit. Reason and irrational belief cannot exist in the same room together. Believing in something for which there is absolutely no reason to believe in it is irrational.

I think you are confusing what I'm saying. The root causes of their behavior are rooted in insanity, but they will use whatever reason they possess to carry out what they feel they have to do.

Posted by: John Mc at July 14, 2005 04:41 PM

spaniard,

Whoa, i bet you taught that Lefty something. Good boy, spaniard. i've read enough of your hate filled, rabid and paranoid rants to know that responding to you is an exercise in futility, but what the hell? My writing skills need some work anyway.

First, you call me a 'so-called expert'. Who called me an expert in the first place? I just try to be generally informed about some things and try to apply some reason to the discussion. I guess to you, doing that would mean trying to come off like an expert.

Okay, maybe Palestinian homes aren't routinely destroyed in the building of the settlements. To say that Palestinian land is confiscated and then homes are torn down, because they are 'illegal' on the confiscated land, would be more accurate. It doesn't change the fact that Israeli settlement activity goes on and confiscates Palestinian land. You were missing the point. We were not discussing the Isr-Pal conflict anyway, only the way that Al-qaeda uses it for the recruitment for his sick cause. Now go get some more lefties, go on, sic em boy.

Posted by: John Mc at July 14, 2005 05:25 PM

John,

Well again, I don't disagree they can act rationally in furtherance of their irrational beliefs and goals. But make no mistake, their motivations are entirely irrational. It doesn't matter if we put every Palestinian in a five-star hotel, he has an infinite supply of bogus reasons to kill the innocent. It all might as well be "Space Unicorns told me to do it."

Again, this is like suggesting one way to decrease rape is to have women wear longer skirts. OK, that may be partially true and desirable for other reasons as well, but rape is not a fair reason to ask women to raise hemlines, and terrorism isn't a fair reason to help the Palestinians.

Posted by: TallDave at July 14, 2005 06:40 PM

Believing in something for which there is absolutely no reason to believe in it is irrational.

Are you familiar with Pascal's wager?

Again, you don't appear to understand the difference between reason and empiricism, or the fact that the scientific method that allegedly disproves religion is an extremely recent creation in the history of Man. Before that, people tried to explain things the best they could using reason alone (poorly, for the most part), and the primary home of reason was religion.

Posted by: TallDave at July 14, 2005 06:47 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism

Empiricism (greek εμπειρισμός, from empirical, latin experientia - the experience) is generally regarded as being at the heart of the modern scientific method, that our theories should be based on our observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith; that is, empirical research and a posteriori inductive reasoning rather than purely deductive logic.

Empiricism is contrasted with continental rationalism, epitomized by René Descartes. According to the rationalist, philosophy should be performed via introspection and a priori deductive reasoning. Names associated with empiricism include St. Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes (also see naturalism), Francis Bacon, John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.

Posted by: TallDave at July 14, 2005 06:54 PM

Okay, maybe Palestinian homes aren't routinely destroyed in the building of the settlements. To say that Palestinian land is confiscated and then homes are torn down, because they are 'illegal' on the confiscated land, would be more accurate.

John Mc,

nah, you're still full of shit. You can provide no evidence that even a single palestinian home has been torn down to make room for an Israeli settlement.

But no matter when you're smoking from Juan Cole's bong. It's the "larger issue" that's important.

Posted by: spaniard at July 14, 2005 07:00 PM

absolutely no reason to believe in it
Well, some would argue (esp in the old days) that being told what was what by your parents and grandparents was reason enough to believe. That's anti-empirical, but not irrational.

Here's a rational reason to believe in God (not saying it's valid, just that it's perfectly logical). Note that it is not empirical.

Pascal's Wager (also known as Pascal's Gambit) is Blaise Pascal's application of decision theory to the belief in God. It is one of three 'wagers' which appear in his Pensées, a collection of notes for an unfinished treatise on Christian apologetics. Pascal argues that it is always a better "bet" to believe in God, because the expected value to be gained from believing in God is always greater than the expected value resulting from non-belief. Note that this is not an argument for the existence of God, but rather one for the belief in God. Pascal specifically aimed the argument at such persons who were not convinced by traditional arguments for the existence of God. With his wager he sought to demonstrate that believing in God is advantageous to not believing, and hoped that this would convert those who rejected previous theological arguments.

Variations of this argument can be found in other religious philosophies, such as Hinduism.

Posted by: TallDave at July 14, 2005 07:01 PM

Oops forgot the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_wager

Posted by: TallDave at July 14, 2005 07:03 PM

John Mc,
If Israel ethnically cleansed the entire arab population from the land, would you still consider the land, Palestinian land?

Posted by: mika. at July 14, 2005 07:14 PM

Mc,
When was the last time Palestinian land was confiscated? It has never happened.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 14, 2005 07:35 PM

"When was the last time Palestinian land was confiscated? It has never happened."

Every inch of land occupied by Israeli settlements on land to the west of the pre-67 war borders has been illegally confiscated.
It is a basic principal in international law that a victorious army cannot move its civilian population into land occupied in the war. The US government has always recognized this principal, and always opposed (at least in a proforma sense) Israeli settlements.

Posted by: at July 14, 2005 07:45 PM

TallDave,

Let me get this straight.

Choosing to believe in god, even though the concept makes no sense to you, but you do so because some great reward is promised if you do believe (and it turns out to be true) is rational.

Fighting to drive out foreign influences in your lands, and to establish your society in accordance with your religous beliefs is irrational.

Is that what you are trying to say?

I dont understand this "terrorist are irrational" line. It seems like simply a way to get in a gratuitous insult. Arent there enough reasons to insult them? I think it comes down to an unwillingness to understand ones enemy, and that is, in wartime, a very dangerous attitude.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at July 14, 2005 07:55 PM

Mika: If Israel ethnically cleansed the entire arab population from the land, would you still consider the land, Palestinian land?

If Mexico ethnically cleansed the entire American population from our land, would you still consider the land American land?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 14, 2005 07:57 PM

It is a basic principal in international law that a victorious army cannot move its civilian population into land occupied in the war.

So what are arabs doing Judea/ Samaria/ Gaza? They should all be sent back to Arabia, where they came from.

Posted by: mika. at July 14, 2005 07:58 PM

Michael J. Totten,
That's for Americans to decide, not me.

Posted by: mika. at July 14, 2005 07:59 PM

So,
What's the answer, Michael? Would you still consider yourself American?

Posted by: at July 14, 2005 08:08 PM

mika,

Yikes! what was that? Don't forget now, this is a centrist site.

Posted by: John Mc at July 14, 2005 08:22 PM

I was just curious how many ethnically cleansed Americans would consider themselves Americans after 2000 years of exile. How many, after the most hideous persecutions and industrialized systematic genocide, would still refuse to relinquish their national identity with the land. Just curious.

Posted by: mika. at July 14, 2005 08:30 PM

If you were an ethnically cleansed American, wouldn't that mean that you were dead? How could you do any considering of anything at that point? Oops, there goes my reason again.

Posted by: John Mc at July 14, 2005 08:34 PM

If you were an ethnically cleansed American, wouldn't that mean that you were dead?

Hundred of thousands of Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia. Many were killed. Many survived.

Posted by: mika. at July 14, 2005 08:45 PM

vanya, I was going to write something similar to what you wrote. There is no sky whatsoever between Juan and the official propagandists at government controlled papers in the mid east - that speaks to some mental illness that makes a man emulate something he doesn't understand. Juan has "gone native".

It reminds me of John Walker Lind who spent his teen years pretending to be a black racist online (a five percenter - one of the people who still believes Elisa Mohammad's wierd fantasy that white men are demons not men). Walker was obviously nuts and self hating.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at July 14, 2005 10:06 PM

Mika: So what are arabs doing Judea/ Samaria/ Gaza? They should all be sent back to Arabia, where they came from.

Arabs have been living outside Arabia in the Middle East and North Africa for centuries longer than white people (like me) have been living in North America. Anyone who tells me to go "back" to Europe can kindly fuck off.

There has to be a statute of limitations on this crap. Get over it already.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 14, 2005 11:54 PM

Actually, Mika, I'm going to run your ass right out of here if you don't tell me you aren't serious about ethnically-cleansing Palestinians. That's way beyond what is even remotely acceptable around here, I don't care who you're talking about.

If one group of people (Israelis, Americans, Brits, etc) can be justified as terrorist victims, then so can anyone. And if one group of people (Palestinians, Bosnians) can be justified as victims of ethnic-cleansing, then so can anyone.

But not on my Web site. I'm not paying the bandwidth charges for that crap.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 15, 2005 12:04 AM

Just for the record, it was actually Ali who tore Cole a new one, just before he made the move to his own blog and while O&M were here in the states.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2005 01:47 AM

There has to be a statute of limitations on this crap. Get over it already.

Really!? Arabs were living in Spain for 800 years before they were finally (and justifiably) kicked out by the Spanish and French. So no, the game of musical chairs never stops.

Actually, Mika, I'm going to run your ass right out of here if you don't tell me you aren't serious about ethnically-cleansing Palestinians.

Read that question again. Jews were ethnically-cleansed from Judea. I wanted to know when did they lose their claim/right to the land of Judea, and why.


Arabs have been living outside Arabia in the Middle East and North Africa for centuries longer than white people (like me) have been living in North America.

Most of the Arabs living in Israel (Judea Samaria Gaza included) moved there from other parts of the Lavant when it became economically viable to do so. Muslim (Turkish) occupation turned to the land into an inhospitable malaria infested swamps, deforested hills, and barren desert sands. Guess when that all changed?

Posted by: mika. at July 15, 2005 03:32 AM

Edit: "turned the land into inhospitable malaria infested swamps, deforested hills, and barren desert sands"

That was difficult to reread, even for me. :)

Posted by: mika. at July 15, 2005 04:01 AM

Karl,
Choosing to believe in god, even though the concept makes no sense to you, but you do so because some great reward is promised if you do believe (and it turns out to be true) is rational.
Yes, that is a perfectly rational, if not empirical, basis for belief.

Fighting to drive out foreign influences in your lands, and to establish your society in accordance with your religous beliefs is irrational.
False rationales for killing innocents are not rational. If they actually meant what they said about the Palestinians and etc., then you might consider the argument rational. But they don't, so they aren't.

Posted by: TallDave at July 15, 2005 06:57 AM

mika, dude, do NOT get yourself banned.

Posted by: spaniard at July 15, 2005 07:55 AM

Land that was captured in a war is not "confiscated." Was Alsace-Lorraine "confiscated" by the French at the end of WWII? East Prussia "confiscated" by Poland? Andalusia "confiscated" by the Spanish when they took it back from the Moors?

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 15, 2005 09:11 AM

I don't think Mika is over the top (this time - the Dracul thing the other day was strange though).

I'm wading thru AJ Toynbee's A Study of History and some recurring themes are challenge/response and the corrupt or stagnant inner sucumbing to a revitalized (often barbarous) outer. Point is, there has been a nearly continuous ebb and flow of attempted conquest by various means. Few civilizations have been static or unaccosted.

Fernand Braudel makes a similar case in A History of Civilizations" which I read some time back.

My theory is, there is no such thing as a statute of limitations, I think its more like strong attacks weak (not neccessarily a military comparison) and then weak responds, gets strong and attacks back (or not, in some cases).

Toynbee also cautions that attempts to freeze things can result in more strongly pent up pressures with disastrous results (like the French Revolution as opposed to progress in England).

As to Palestine, there are some interesting layers below the current conflict. Look back to Alexander and the Hellenic conquest of the Syriac culture (original semites?). The Islamic thrust may have been a response to that (at least indirectly).

Of course, the question arises; where to draw the line? I certainly don't suscribe to moral relativism, and my intention is to fight as and if neccessary for my Western Civilization. That said, taking the long view, my guess is that whatever civilization brings the most advancement to the human race in general will be the one I root for.

Civilizations that succeed tend to allow incorporation of the conquered into them. There Israel and the Arabs have a big problem because they seem to me to be mutually excluding of each other. Thus, neither can win in the end unless they really do cleanse the other, because the other will always (as history seems to show) regroup and press back.

Posted by: jdwill at July 15, 2005 09:27 AM

Actually, Mika, I'm going to run your ass right out of here if you don't tell me you aren't serious about ethnically-cleansing Palestinians.

You know Michael, there's a very simple way to find out if I'm serious or not. When you see me blowing up arabs on their way to work, or blowing them up when sit to eat at a restaurant, or when they dancing at a discotec, or when they celebrate during a wedding, or when they pray at a mosque, or generally at every opportunity that presents itself, I think then you'll know if I'm serious or not.

Posted by: mika. at July 15, 2005 09:41 AM

If one group of people (Israelis, Americans, Brits, etc) can be justified as terrorist victims, then so can anyone.

Justified to do what? Grieve endlessly as jihad takes it's toll on their friends, their economy, their lives. When is jihad going to be answered for what it is? Or is that question too PC for you to answer as well?

Posted by: mika. at July 15, 2005 09:44 AM

Anyone who tells me to go "back" to Europe can kindly fuck off.

What if instead they placed you on an American "Indian reservation"?

Posted by: mika. at July 15, 2005 09:47 AM

Sorry, Mike, but I'm going to have to side with Cole on this one. I'll readily conceede he plays fast and loose with the facts in regards to the quote about Sbaron in the 9/11 Commission report, but it is impossible to deny- without judging Israel or American policies towards Israel- the role US policy towards Israel, and successive Israeli governments since 1967 (but also going back much further), has played in galvanizing radical opposition.

Further, the fisking you link to is perhaps the most pathetic and intellectually stupid analysis of recent relations between the Israelis and Palensitians I have ever come across. He only analyzes for three paragraphs, but I still don't know where to begin.

For starters, Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount was hardly any less significant because he was at the time only campaigning for Prime Minister. Barak was incompetent- no matter what Dennis Ross says- and the power had already shifted. You'll recall that Barak was even forced to call for early elections. Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount was, by and large, the spark that erupted into the Second Intifada. Your boy acts like it was no big deal. Well, that's a load of crap.

As to the point about 9/11 as a reaction to Sharon's policies, well... criticizing Cole on this point is largely semantics, and Cole may have even pulled a fast one here. Sharon was a reviled man to the Palestinians long before he became Israeli PM. Many US-Likudniks, like your boy, seem to think he just appeared in 2000. If your boy had done any research of his own, though, he would know that Sharon has been around for a while, and the operation in Jenin Cole was referring to was not the one in 2002. I'll just leave it at that. Also, Sabra? Shatila? Do those names mean anything to your boy? I know they mean something to you, Michael, because you're the Lebanon stud.

For the record, I think Cole is an intellectually dishonest jackass and I was a big supporter of the Iraq War. But that doesn't mean I get to ignore the substance of his arguments. Apparently, you disagree.

CBJ

Posted by: Chris at July 15, 2005 06:13 PM

So Michael instead of flogging everyone with your talking point on how you are oh so reasonable and oh so centrist, why not drop a dime, and give Cole a phone call?

Bash Cole. Bash Cole. Bash Cole.

Why not do something new for a change that would be a service to everyone, yourself, Cole, and the blahgosphere?

Posted by: jerry at July 16, 2005 08:05 AM

Cole is full of it. Both WTC attacks were caused by the United Nations. Osama bin Laden got his panties in a wad because infidel soldiers were parking in Saudi Arabia. Why were they there? Because the glorious UN issued a resolution authorizing the Gulf War, so that Hussein wouldn't overrun the Arabian peninsula. So it's really the UN's fault.

(And did u know that Barbara 'the UN is my MILF' Boxer voted AGAINST the Gulf War, even tho the glorious UN authorized it??)

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