I avoid writing about the “drama” surrounding rifts among atheists to the degree I can. But for the life of me, I have no idea why PZ Myers would want to be dismissive of Ex Muslim atheists, commenting on their recent piece airing their disappointment with the western political left, which I also quoted yesterday. It is rather patronizing of him, to call it an example of “the fallacy of excluded middle”, and say this:
…it’s more of an exercise in beating up liberal straw-people.
Now, PZ is a self described liberal. So am I. But I won’t come to the defense of others simply because they are liberals. That is tribalism.
Unlike what PZ alleges, Rizvi and Mutar are not beating up straw people. They have a very clear example in mind: Noam Chomsky. He is not the only one, but perhaps the best known example: a cultural relativist, using the Tu Quoque fallacy extensively to whitewash Islamist crimes, using statements like ““We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.” Really, didn’t PZ read the article at all? Because there is no mention of Chomsky in his post whatsoever.
And then, he adds this.
That the US is not quite as bloody-minded domestically (we’re pretty bloody-minded when it comes to foreign policy, unfortunately) as, say, Afghanistan does not mean we need to shut up and not worry about cleaning our own house. It does not mean we must live in denial about the diminished career opportunities for women in America because women in Saudi Arabia are being stoned to death for adultery.
Why, PZ, no one ever said you should. All Ex Muslims are saying to people like Chomsky is to shut up and stop putting the US and Islamists on the same footing. To claim they are asking liberals to stay in denial about problems here in the US is using a straw man fallacy. Which is rather ironic, given that it is PZ himself accuses others of doing.
Dear Dr Myers: Ex Muslims who have come out as atheist had to face far tougher challenges than you will in your entire life. They had to abandon their countries of birth where they would be arrested for blasphemy, and they remain concerned about the fate of freethinkers in those countries not as lucky as them, who face torture and death. They don’t need Chomsky to trivialize what they have gone through by comparing it to the situation here in the US. And they don’t need you to misquote them.