The Islamophobe challenge is open to anyone and I'd rather get a bigger name but this is the first/best attempt to date, so I'll share the gruesome, hilarious, amazing yet mostly predictable details. A fair number of twitterers joined in, all on the Islamophobe side, all agreeing with the same basic story so I'm going out on a limb here -- usually I keep it much tighter -- but it seems fair to say this person is entirely typical of the New Atheist cult (there's a small chance this person is a far-right Christian Islamophobe; difficult to definitively tell them apart if they don't announce it). I bet you're wondering about the evidence he brought to bear. Fucking game-changing, but you'll have to wait.
After some prodding I finally got a standard dictionary definition out of him.
So at this point it's already game over.
I start listing some of the more egregious cases of US violence that meet his definition. Non sequitur, he says. That was his first response to evidence running counter to his "thesis." What led him to so bravely accept the Islamophobe challenge was a claim to the effect that falsifying evidence is categorically inadmissible. US terrorism is categorically impossible. At the risk of offending decent religious people, new atheists are religiously committed. They have central, unfalsifiable beliefs, i.e., beliefs that are entirely placed off limits to rational or scientific inquiry. Terrorism is a normatively loaded tribalist term used to define us and them, good and bad that is unconcerned with violence as such.
Then I spell it out, explaining how these cases of US violence meet his definition, at which point the definition predictably starts to change, i.e., he starts moving the yardstick. Terrorism has to inflict maximum casualties, he says. I give examples of the US doing that. But that was total war, he says, and total war isn't terrorism, you see because
of his religious commitments um...so I give an easily google-able non-total war example (Indochina) that's met with "prove it," essentially a denial of well-established facts. (I'd say "non-acceptance" if I wasn't talking about creationist-level religiosity repeatedly demonstrated but I am, so denial seems like the right word.) It's not terrorism unless it's routine (he thinks US terrorism isn't routine!). It's not terrorism if "whatever specific thing I can find to set us apart from them." Textbook ingroup bias.
The whole time he keeps asking me the same two loaded questions, both diversions intended to commit me to aspects of his cultish narrative by enticing acceptance of flawed buried premises:
This question is of course unrelated to the challenge I posed, which was a basic descriptive one. And he's yet, at this point, to attempt to show any correlation.
The other loaded question:
So I accept the worst case interpretation up front, that the religious texts in question encourage genocide. He misses the point that there's now no big reveal for him where he could hammer me with holy text evil.
He keeps asking me if I've read it, I keep asking when he's gonna show that correlation between Islam and terrorism. Finally, he shows his hand:
So that's it. That's what correlation is. Words in a text that say "do X" and anecdotes about members of a group known to frequent that text doing X.
Here's the Twitter thread.
Here's a summary of the entire thread, other Islamophobe twitterers included:
Here's a song: