In light of recent events in Charlottesville, VA, and the arrant display of cowardice on the part of Donald Trump and his Administration in dealing with it, this "Skeptic's Collection" column from late 2014 -- which now seems like several Eternities ago -- is even more relevant now than when it was originally published. I have only changed the title slightly.
I recently wrote a “Skeptics Collection” post in which I severely criticized a certain variety of contemporary Islam for being historically retrogressive, among other reasons, because of its militant religious triumphalism, its melding of political and military power with religious authority, and its hostility to any kind of critical stance toward Islamic history, sacred literature,
I am learning – the hard way – to get knee-jerkingly suspicious every time someone mentions the phrase “moral equivalency” – and certainly when anyone attempts to employ moral equivalency in arguments. I suppose there are occasions when that term, and that rhetorical tactic, are justified, but I have not encountered any examples lately, least of all examples in real life. In fact, I would even make bold to say that at least 90% of the time – and I mean for that number to be interpreted quite literally – entities and acts that are said to be “morally equivalent” are anything but. Most of the time “morally equivalency” could be more accurately rephrased as “moral imbecility”. Two examples leap to mine immediately.
President Trump – two words that make about as much sense when us
In last week’s “Skeptic’s Collection" column, I started out discussing the multiple reasons that monotheistic religion is fundamentally inconsistent with the most basic tenets of any free society founded on and governed by principles derived from the European Enlightenment. I ended up, in the last couple paragraphs – and against my initial intent – discussing Donald Trump and the similarities between Trump and any monotheistic god. As I said at the time and said just now, that was not my original intent, which in the beginning was to just discuss the conflict between monotheistic religion and liberal (in the classical Enlightenment sense) societies. But, upon reflection, I discovered that this is an area where the tail really should wag the dog: the dog idea of conflict between mono