If liberals can’t compete in the free market, they turn to the government to make it “fair” for them. For instance, liberal talk radio sucks. I say that because I’ve listened to far too much of it, and it sucks. But that’s not just my opinion, since the marketplace has also said that liberal talk radio sucks. You can see this in the way Air America Radio has failed to succeed. So, having failed in the free market, liberals predictably turn to the government to fix it for them. And when it comes to radio, the method liberals seem to like most is the resurrection of the Fairness Doctrine, as reported on TheHill:

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”

The Fairness Doctrine, which the FCC discarded in 1985, required broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial political issues. Prior to 1985, government regulations called for broadcasters to “make reasonable judgments in good faith” on how to present multiple viewpoints on controversial issues.

Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she planned to “look at the legal and constitutional aspects of” reviving the Fairness Doctrine.

“I believe very strongly that the airwaves are public and people use these airwaves for profit,” she said. “But there is a responsibility to see that both sides and not just one side of the big public questions of debate of the day are aired and are aired with some modicum of fairness.”

Feinstein said she is not yet ready to submit a formal proposal.

If liberals could compete in the free market, they wouldn’t need the heavy hand of government to make things “fair” for them. Liberals tell us that Americans need to “hear both sides of the story” to best make decisions, but is the public truly starved for both sides? Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing “king of talk radio,” has about 550 radio stations broadcasting him, while the left-wing NPR has about 720. If we look at TV networks, Fox News leans middle to right, and ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN lean middle to left.

Here’s how to answer Senator Feinstein and anyone else pondering whether the Fairness Doctrine needs to return — send them a copy of the First Amendment and ask them what part of “Congress shall make no law” they have a hard time understanding.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [emphasis mine -- CM]

Socialism sucks. And while I’m on the subject of things that suck, Marxism also sucks, but I repeat myself. There is a simple reason why both socialism and Marxism suck, and it can be described in terms of homeostasis — the automatic processes your body uses to regulate your body temperature, blood sugar, hormones, etc. Here’s what I wrote before about homeostasis and command economies:

The wonder of the body is that necessary processes like the insulin/glucagon battle take place automatically, whether you think about them or not. And it’s a good thing that we don’t have to think about these functions. The chemistry necessary to turn those two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun into the glucose your body needs (minus the icky bits your body doesn’t need) is a chemist’s nightmare. How long would it take you to break normal table sugar (and water) into glucose if you had to do the following chemical reaction manually?

C12H22O11 + H2O —> C6H12O6 + C6H12O6

Now aren’t you glad that your body does this automatically for you? I know I am….

Just as your body is best served to have the blood sugar levels controlled automatically by the pancreas working invisibly inside you (further down and a bit more to the right. Yep, right there), the invisible hand of market forces works best when the force of government is kept out of it. Government intervention is similar to the injections of insulin. While it can be of short-term benefit to the person involved, it is neither as fast nor as efficient as the automatic actions of the pancreas.

People and economies work best when regulated by automatic processes, and socialism is not automatic. It is the heavy hand of government trying to brute-force the kinds of decisions that are best handled by the “invisible hand” of the free market.

“But American health care is broken! We need the government to fix where the market has failed.” I’ve heard several people make that claim whenever the subject of rising health care costs comes up. But why are health care costs rising? Here is a very telling graph that I’ve mentioned before:

Growth of medical costs

Notice that the more the cost of health care is paid by some third party like health insurance, the faster the overall cost goes up. But in cases like Lasik eye surgery, costs have gone from $10,000 per eye to under $500 in a few short years. Since people have to pay for laser eye surgery themselves, they have shopped around and sought out the best service for their money. But the chart shows that when people are not involved in the costs, as happens with insurance payments, costs go spiraling up like, well, health care costs.

Since third-party payments appear to be linked to rising costs, the proffered solution is to create more third-party payments by socializing medicine? Sounds like trying to put out an apartment fire by throwing logs and cans of gas in through the window. Oh, hey! The fire’s getting worse. Toss on more wood and gas!

But feeding the flames of the problem is exactly what socialist champion Michael Moore wants. His newest piece of crap documentary, titled Sicko, is hitting theaters, so expect to hear more people call for single-payer socialized medicine. To prove his point about the problem of American health care, Moore took some people down to Cuba for treatment. I find it ironic that when Fidel Castro needed emergency surgery, even though Cuba is supposedly a nation of doctors, they flew in a Spanish surgeon to work on him. So much for the vaunted socialized medicine of Cuba.

It’s illuminating to read the IMDb comments attached to Sicko. Many commenters claim that America’s love of money is bad, and socialized medicine in Europe and Canada is good. As one commenter put it, “Michael goes to 4 countries with Universal healthcare coverage, including a longtime alleged nemesis Cuba. In all instances he finds that there is great medical coverage, FOR FREE. Ontop [sic] of that, medications are either free, or almost free compared to U.S.A.” But this Canadian commenter is wrong. Medical coverage in such countries is not free. It is paid for by taxation, and governments have to reach into your pocketbook to get the taxes. So in no way do nations with socialized medicine get their health care for free.

Interestingly enough, the plot outline as listed on the IMDb just changed. It was once described as a comedy about 45 million uninsured Americans, but now it says the film is a documentary comparing health care systems. The original outline trotted out the common claim that there are 45 million Americans without health care in the U.S. That’s 15%, or almost one in six people. But Stuart Browning does a great job of showing how that number is inflated in his video. Removing from that equation the people who voluntarily choose not to have insurance, like the young and healthy, and those people who could receive health insurance through programs like Medicaid but who don’t bother to apply, the number of truly uninsured in the U.S. is about 8 million people, or about 2.7% of Americans. Browning sums it up this way in his video:

A small minority of people slip through the cracks through no fault of their own – however in any nation there is a group of people who refuse to participate in society or take responsibility for their own well-being. Even if our government attempted to force them to receive regular health care, many wouldn’t comply.

So, why do we keep hearing about a crisis of 45 million uninsured?

Maybe, it’s because the problem of Americans without health insurance is exaggerated and used as a smokescreen by many reformers who advocate socialized health care financing.

Here’s another dirty little secret, although it’s not so secret any more — hospitals are not allowed to turn away any injured person who goes to the emergency room, whether or not that person can pay for medical services. In the movie, Faye Chao demonstrates this. She makes more than enough money to pay for health insurance, but she chooses to save the money rather than spend it. In one exchange in the movie, she talks about her experience with hospital care:

Faye Chao: I bike everywhere in the city, so I have gotten hit by drivers twice – and one time I ended up in the hospital. No, I didn’t have health insurance, but I was treated – and billed for it later.

Stuart Browning: Umm hmm. How much was the bill for? Do you remember?

Faye Chao: Honestly I don’t because I didn’t bother to pay for it.

Free health care! Just stiff the hospital like Chao did if you want free health care. Or you can do what socialist nations do and pass the bill on to the taxpayers. Do you really want your health care handled by the government? Before you answer, I suggest you first get your driver’s license renewed at the DMV. The cheerful, attentive service you receive at the hands of the DMV should be a fair example of the service you can expect from government-run health care.

Don’t worry about having to wait months for government-run health care services — just keep repeating to yourself, “It’s free.”

And like so many other free things, you’ll get exactly what you pay for.

I had to snicker when I read an article stating that China had surpassed the U.S. as the largest producer of CO2 on the planet:

China has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures released today show.

The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China’s growing role in driving man-made global warming and will pile pressure onto world politicians to agree a new global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy. China’s emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world’s biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year.

But according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, soaring demand for coal to generate electricity and a surge in cement production have helped to push China’s recorded emissions for 2006 beyond those from the US already. It says China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US. Britain produced about 600m tonnes.

I did a quick calculation of tons of CO2 per person in each three nations. It works out to 4.69 tons per person in China, 19.26 in the U.S., and 9.87 in the U.K. CO2 is also a quick way to measure a nation’s productivity, because industrial processes will produce CO2 as a byproduct. This means that China would need to be twice as productive to reach the level of England, and four times as productive to catch up to the U.S. The Kyoto Protocol failed to be ratified in the U.S. because of the growth of production in China and India. It was easy to see, even back in 1997, that China and India were both growing industrial states, and granting them exemptions from the CO2 emissions limits made the treaty into a joke.

But there is good news — the Washington Post reported that the CO2 produced in the U.S. dropped last year:

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped slightly last year even as the economy grew, according to an initial estimate released yesterday by the Energy Information Administration.

The 1.3 percent drop in CO2 emissions marks the first time that U.S. pollution linked to global warming has declined in absolute terms since 2001 and the first time it has gone down since 1990 while the economy was thriving. Carbon dioxide emissions declined in both 2001 and 1991, in large part because of economic slowdowns during those years.

But why did our CO2 emissions drop last year? The WaPo article explains:

A number of factors helped reduce emissions last year, according to the government, including weather conditions that reduced heating and air-conditioning use, higher gasoline prices that caused consumers to conserve, and a greater overall reliance on natural gas.

Interestingly enough, the countries of Europe suck at dropping their CO2 emissions, based on this article:

EU-15 countries will need to step up their efforts if they are to meet their overall target to reduce emissions of global-warming gases and meet their Kyoto commitment, the EEA warned on 27 October.

According to a new report by the Copenhagen agency, ‘Greenhouse-gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2006′, existing policies will have slashed greenhouse-gas emissions in the EU-15 by only 0.6% in 2010 – a far cry from the 8% it committed to achieve by 2012.

Let’s think about this a bit: the U.S. hasn’t ratified or participated in the Kyoto Protocols as Europe did, but the U.S. has achieved double the CO2 reduction in a single year as all of Europe has pledged to accomplish by 2010. Interesting, no? But the bottom line is that American carbon dioxide drops in absolute amounts. And that’s good news, right? Well, apparently not to the sourpuss whiners on the Left:

Critics of the administration, including Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists, said the one-year decline did not prove Bush’s voluntary approach to cutting greenhouse gases is working. They noted that the emissions have been rising worldwide since 1990 and that the rate accelerated to 3 percent a year between 2000 and 2004.

“This is more proof that this President just doesn’t get it when it comes to combating climate change,” Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement yesterday. “The house is on fire, and he’s trying to douse the flames with a watering can. The science tells us that we need to reduce our emissions by 60-80% by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic damage.”

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! We need drastic government action to distribute hard-hats to all Americans in order to avoid catastrophic damage! Yeah, right. I’ve already mentioned that mankind’s total contribution to all greenhouse gases is comparable to less than one-third of a penny out of a dollar. So Senator Kerry is saying that to avoid catastrophic damage, we need to drop that to one-sixth of a penny. Frankly, I can’t get all worked up about going from concentrations of 0.0028 to 0.0014.

[hat-tip to Ed Morrissey for his article bringing the three links together. -- CM]

I haven’t written anything about the fighting between Hamas and Fatah, but Cox and Forkum do a masterful job in showing the difference between these two groups. In case you miss it, they follow up with a clear explanation.

Six of One

“Palestinian moderates”? It was Fatah’s Abbas who refused to disarm Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas and the “armed wing” of his own party, even after continued terrorist attacks. It was Fatah terrorists who claimed joint responsibility with Hamas for the suicide-bombing mother who murdered four people. Abbas has called Israel the “Zionist enemy”. It is Fatah whose name means “conquest” and whose logo still includes an AK-47 and a grenade.

There’s so little difference between Hamas and Fatah that you can barely tell them apart: Fatah photo and Hamas photo. The only real difference is that Hamas is more open about its intent to destroy Isreal.

Former Vice-President Al Gore says there is no argument that the Earth is suffering global warming. Politicians and scientists who are wringing their hands over anthropogenic global warming are telling us that we need to cut back on the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere. But is it really a big deal?

Monte Hieb has done a nice job of calculating how much humanity has contributed to the greenhouse effect. He totaled up the greenhouse gases produced by humanity’s activities, and then multiplies them by how much they contribute to the greenhouse effect. For example, nitrous oxide (N2O) has a 310 times greater effect on our greenhouse than carbon dioxide (CO2), and Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) has a whopping 23,900 times greater effect. So taking the concentrations and their effects into consideration, Hieb posted how much humanity has affected the Earth’s greenhouse effect. Hold on to your hats for this horrible news — humanity has contributed 0.28% to the greenhouse effect of the Earth.

Yes, that’s 28% of 1%. Or if you’d like another way of looking at it, here’s 28% of a penny, out of one dollar:

28 percent of a penny

So the next time someone complains about how mankind is driving global warming, you can toss them a penny and explain that, if a dollar represents all global warming, humanity’s contribution amounts to less than one-third of that penny. Then ask them why they are freaking out over such a trivial amount.

The immigration amnesty bill is dead, but like a zombie, its corpse is still twitching, and folks in Washington D.C. are still very interested in it. I wouldn’t mind if they wanted the zombie to be part of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance team, or as a shuffle-on role in the next zombie flick, but the powers that be in Washington want to make this zombie immigration bill become law.

Somebody shoot this zombie in the head, please! Then drive a stake in its heart. Wait, that’s vampires. Oh, who cares? I don’t want this bill to be mostly dead, I want to see it become all dead.

Sadly, there are Republicans who like the zombie bill, and who are excited to make it happen. President Bush is in the forefront of those who favor the bill, and President Bush is wrong to do so. America doesn’t need illegal immigration reform; it needs border security. Border security is a gushing arterial wound, while immigration reform is but a splinter in the finger. Common sense says you treat the life-threatening wound before the splinter. But I’m afraid that there is something either in the water or the air of Washington D.C. that leeches the common sense right out of the people there. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a zombie leech that goes for the brains.

A zombie leech would explain some of the incredibly stupid things being said in Washington. Here is one burst of flatulence as reported in the New York Times:

The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the [immigration] bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”

Problem? PROBLEM?!? What the hell are you talking about, Senator? It’s true talk radio is overwhelmingly conservative, so what is Senator Lott doing, saying stuff like that and angering his Republican base? Smooth move, Senator. But his statement is so wrong. If talk radio really ran America, the Democrats would never have taken over Congress. To bring his comment into the 21st century, Senator Lott might instead have said, “Blogs are running America. We have to deal with that problem.” That statement would be just as ripe a raspberry to his conservative base.

To put it simply, talk radio and blogs are forums for ideas, and it may very well be the revitalized marketplace of ideas that is Senator Lott’s problem. It’s so much easier for the governing elites when the huddled masses just shut up and let their betters go about their oh-so-important work. It’s pretty clear that the howls of outrage over the immigration bill from the huddled masses caught Washington D.C. by surprise, both Republican and Democrat. They wanted the bill to be a fait accompli, but talk radio hosts and listeners didn’t like this closed-door-crafted bill, so they — horror of horrors! — talked about it. And talk radio agreed: a loud fart crafted behind closed doors is just as stinky.

I have supported President Bush in many parts of his Presidency, but he is wrong about immigration. This is a strange blind spot for him to display, since he has otherwise had a remarkably clear grasp of America’s security needs. The New York Times quotes President Bush and shows his disconnect on this issue:

Mr. Bush said the $4.4 billion [for border security] would “come from the fines and penalties that we collect from those who have come to our country illegally” and apply for legal status.

Representative Duncan Hunter of California, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, scorned such linkage.

“The idea that we will have border security only if it’s paid for by illegal immigrants is unacceptable,” Mr. Hunter said.

Judging just from that exchange of ideas, it is clear that Rep. Hunter gets it, and President Bush doesn’t. If the Republican leadership continues to champion a badly-created bill, they will succeed in continuing to piss off their conservative base and losing more elections.

Or they could be successful in passing the bill. In which case, they will have successfully pissed off their base, and installed a rotten zombie of a bill as law. Zombies are notoriously bad border security guards or immigration officers. It’s hard to hunt down the bad guys when all you can muster is a lurch, or maybe a choreographed shuffle.

My niece, Miss V, is staying with us for the summer again, and we are really happy to have her here with us. But since she switched from an outside temperature in the 80s-90s to the Northwest’s 60s-70s — and not to mention the really dry air on the plane — she has come down with the sniffles and sore throat.

Last night, being sure she was running a temperature, she asked me to break out the thermometer and check. Four minutes later, the thermometer showed she had a normal temperature, but we explained that people can still be sick without running a fever.

V patiently held the thermometer under her tongue, but an oral thermometer is not the only way to take someone’s temperature. There’s always the rectal thermometer, but that’s just grody. I remember occasionally being dropped off at a day care facility in North Dakota as a kid, and the people there would take our temperature with a sensor held under the arm. This was faster than an oral thermometer, and it didn’t require the sterilization like something used orally. My favorite method remains the thermometer used in doctors’ offices that takes your temperature from your ear drum. It’s fast, can’t be spoofed with a hot drink like an oral thermometer can, and it doesn’t have the oogie factor of a rectal one. *shudder*

When you get down to it, what exactly is a person’s temperature? The hands and feet tend to be colder than the trunk, and the temperature of the skin outside is lower than the gooey bits inside. And to make matters even more confusing, a body’s internal temperature rises and falls during a 24-hour period. So what is the “normal” temperature for a person? Do we average a person’s temperature or add the top and bottom temperatures together and divide by two?

If the matter of someone’s temperature is this complicated, how much more complicated is taking the temperature of the planet? Scientists say that the temperature of the planet is going up, but how exactly do they know this? How exactly do you tell the Earth to open up and say, “Ahhhh”? And where do you stick the thermometer? I am confident that smart people have considered matters like seasons, time, location, and local weather in their global calculations, but I doubt they have taken everything into consideration.

I say this because Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That? blog is doing some very interesting work looking at the location and conditions of weather stations in California. Weather stations that had been for years in rural areas are suffering from urban sprawl. And as buildings and blacktop surround these weather stations, it’s no wonder that the temperatures recorded are going up. These stations are measuring the effect of the urban heat island that surrounds our cities. Asphalt roads heat up more than a similar area of grass and greenery. Buildings can block the wind and reflect the sun back onto the weather station. Heck, even the use of latex paint instead of whitewash on the weather stations themselves could have a non-subtle effect.

Watt’s work on looking at the weather stations is very interesting to me, mainly because he has shown some rather bad set-ups. Below is a picture taken from Watt’s site showing the weather station in Forest Grove, Oregon. Notice that a significant heat source, the air conditioner, is situated right next to the weather station.

Forest Grove weather station

What is less obvious from that photo is the encroachment of buildings and roads around the weather station. I find that this weather station could be affected by the urban heat island that has built around it. Watt makes a guess that the AC box was installed in 1985 because the Forest Grove data shows a jump in temperature that year, and it has stayed at a higher temperature plateau ever since.

Watt also compares the temperature readings of Marysville, CA with the weather station in Orlando, just 50 miles away. The Marysville annual mean temperature plot shows a steady increase in temperature over the years, but Orlando’s data does not. The difference being Orlando remains in a rural area, and the Marysville weather station is surrounded by a fire station, with AC units, concrete, reflections, and the firefighters’ BBQ.

Do these examples mean that all temperature readings for the past few decades should be shoved out the window? Well no, but we certainly need to examine our method of recording these temperatures. We don’t want to judge the temperature of the world if these weather stations are doing the equivalent of children taking a really hot drink before sticking the thermometer under their tongue.

“I’m sorry, Son. You can’t go to school today with a temperature of 127°.”

It happens to all of us, and without warning. You’re happily going through your normal daily routine when some song gets stuck in your head, and it just won’t go away! You have an earworm, and as the song loops endlessly in your head, you know there will be no peace until you can evict it. But how do you get rid of an earworm? Stabbing yourself in the ear is not a good idea, and 4 out of 5 doctors don’t recommend it to their patients. Besides, it doesn’t work. There are only two ways to rid yourself of an earworm, but I warn you: these treatments are not for the faint of heart!

But first, some examples of earworms that I have had in the past year. The first comes from an Icelandic show called “LazyTown” and is one of my wife’s favorites. This is guaranteed to raise the ire of my niece if she hears it playing.

You are a pirate

Here’s a classic song from Sheri Lewis’ “Lamp Chops Play-Along” that just goes on and on because…

This is the song that doesn’t end

Gary Brolsma became a web celebrity when his short webcam video of his lip-syncing to a Moldovian pop song became a hit watched by millions of viewers.

Numa Numa

But the earworm that has afflicted me the most in the past few weeks comes from another non-English song, “Adiemus” written by Karl Jenkins. TPK correctly identified that “Adiemus” was used in the trailer for “Mighty Joe Young” in our video collection. I don’t remember what brought the song to my attention last month, but here’s one of the best versions I’ve found on YouTube: Anastasia Volochkova dancing to “Adiemus.”

Adiemus

These aren’t the only earworms I have been afflicted with, but these ones have nice YouTube visuals for you to enjoy. I said that there are only two ways to get rid of an earworm, but neither cure is fun. The first cure requires singing the earworm until you dislodge it. And do you really want to sing Barney’s “I love you, you love me” song out loud in your office?

The second method often works, but at a price. To get rid of the earworm, you have to dislodge it by inserting another one in its place, even it takes several tries until you are successful. If, after several tries, you still fail to dislodge your earworm, you may have to break out the strongest of them all. If you are brave, you can listen to the sovereign earworm below.

The Sovereign Earworm

Oh, the humanity!

Once again top Democrats are giving the finger to our troops. Today Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi aided and abetted our enemies by flatly telling President Bush that the troop surge has failed.

“As many had forseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results,” the two leaders wrote.

“The increase in US forces has had little impact in curbing the violence or fostering political reconciliation.

“It has not enhanced Americas national security. The unsettling reality is that instances of violence against Iraqis remain high and attacks on US forces have increased.

“In fact, the last two months of the war were the deadliest to date for US troops.”

Yep, that there surge sure has failed. Of course, the full complement of troops have yet to fully surge into the field, but these Dems are telling us it has already failed. Violence is up, so the U.S. troops suck. Just listen to the Dems.

And people are listening to the Democrats. Al-Qaeda is listening, and the murderous thugs killing our soldiers and Iraqi civilians are listening. The message they are hearing is “Hold on, terrorists! And keep killing Americans. Just a few more deaths, and we’ll wave the white flag and run.”

It’s no surprise that Senator Reid is ready to wave the white flag and claim the surge has failed. He waved the white flag and gave up in April when he said, “this war is lost.” Way to show backbone, Senator Reid!

With friends like the Democrats, the troops don’t need enemies.

This is an article in the series A Look Into Islam.

There has been much written and said about Islam in the last several years, but how much do you really know about Islam? Can you name the five pillars of Islam? Have you read the Qur’an? I must confess that I haven’t read it all either. So how can we learn more about Islam? There are non-Islamic sites that point out the fallacies and errors of Islam, but I am distrustful of each one I have seen, and I won’t link to any of them. I have seen too many anti-Mormon sites use the same ham-fisted bashing tactics that I find on most anti-Islam sites. For example, several sites that purport to tell the truth of Islam claim that everything is carefully researched and documented, but then they proceed to let the accusations fly without any documentation to back up their claims. And I have noticed several sites that have said they would not engage in any ad hominem attacks, but it doesn’t take long before the comments descend into bashing and snarky asides.

So assuming you want to do so, where do you go to learn about Islam? I suggest you go to the source and spend your time on the sites written by Muslims themselves, rather than by their detractors. Only after you gain an understanding of what Muslims believe as expressed by Muslims, then you can spend your time with the detractors.

I did a quick search and turned up three sites about Islam to start off with, but these are by no means the only or best sites. They are merely the first few that caught my eye.

Again, these sites aren’t the best, merely the first I turned up in some admittedly quick searches. And while they are written by Muslims, I don’t think they are the most effective Islamic apologist arguments when I can easily refute them. For example, one under the title “Islam: A Religion of Terror?” asks whether we should judge Islam by the actions of some of its followers:

One of the many short comings which has arisen in the West, is judging Islam by the conduct of a minority of its people. By doing this, segments of Western society have deliberately played off the desperate actions of many Muslims, and have given it the name of Islam. Such behaviour is clearly not objective and seeks to distort the reality of Islam. For if such a thing was done – judge a religion by the conduct of its people – then we too could say that all Christianity is about is child molesting and homosexuality [1] whilst Hinduism was all about looting and breaking up mosques [2].

The two numbers refer to the following footnotes:

[1] By using the many cases of child abuse and homosexuality by priests, Such a generalisation about Christianity could be made
[2] By using the incident of the destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodya, India in December 1992 by Hindu zealots, such generalisations could be made about Hinduism

Were the “many cases of child abuse and homosexuality by priests” perpetrated in the name of Christianity while the priests chanted “God is great”, or were they the acts of individual sinful men? And if one act of Hindu destruction is sufficient example to typify an entire religion, then the 8,500+ acts of violence committed by Muslims since 9/11/2001 are 8500 times more damning of Islam.

There are many examples of Muslims committing violence and murder in the name of Islam, and often they chant “God is great” while doing so. Clearly they are committing these acts as a form of religious devotion, but is all of Islam to blame for the despicable acts of a few? No, the person who holds the bloody knife is to blame for the death. And what about the people who stand by and chant “Allahu Akbar”? It is clear that they are willing accomplices to the murder. What about an imam who does nothing violent himself, but who preaches bloody jihad in England? Does he share in some responsibility for the violence caused by those who were inspired by his hatred? And what culpability do Muslims have when they stand by quietly and say nothing to condemn the murders committed by their coreligionists? In Latin, “qui tacet consentire videtur” means “he who is silent is taken to agree”; by their silence, are they not consenting to the violence? Frankly, I wouldn’t go that far. It’s very possible that Muslim silence comes from fear of being the next victim, not from tacit consent. After all, the Ummah has shown a remarkably low flash point for anger and violence. Pope Benedict XVI quotes someone from centuries earlier questioning the justice and virtue of Islam, and Muslims around the world blow up and call for his head — literally. Personally, I cannot accept that Islam is the “Religion of Peace” as some people say. It has proven by the actions of many of its followers that it cannot claim that title.

But don’t take my word for it. Go take a look for yourself at what Islam preaches and what it practices, and come up with your own informed opinion. After all, isn’t it high time you learned about Islam?