Sam Harris: Wrong (again) about Religion and Radicalization

At about the 40th minute in Waking Up with Sam Harris:#43 — What Do Jihadists Really Want? Sam Harris explains his understanding of the nature and origin of religion. The same fundamental error is made by New Atheists more generally according to my understanding of the writings of the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. … Continue reading “Sam Harris: Wrong (again) about Religion and Radicalization”

How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us

I have now posted on the first part of Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us by Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko. This section has covered the how individuals are radicalised. Future posts will look at how groups move towards extremism, and then how entire nations can likewise go in that ugly direction. Type of … Continue reading “How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us”

A God / Socializing Gene … and “The Dawkins Delusion”

Here is another snippet from the same transcript that produced the elephants and dugongs post a few days ago. I follow with a snippet from Nicholas Wade’s The Faith Instinct where he rebuts Richard Dawkins shallow understanding of religion. What is the only type of behaviour that will always be identical in both twins, regardless … Continue reading “A God / Socializing Gene … and “The Dawkins Delusion””

Lessons From the 6 January Insurrection

It will be seen if the ruling elite in the US is capable of responding to the reality in their nation. Otherwise this was a poorly executed first try. The second will be better organised. An excellent analysis of the deeper national pressures that erupted in the January 6 storming of the Capitol: Lessons From … Continue reading “Lessons From the 6 January Insurrection”

Essential Reading for Trump Supporters

When I was a dedicated member of Herbert Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God cult I was aware of the existence of “dissident” literature that had led a few fellow members to “fall away” into the clutches of Satan. I had no desire to seek it out and read it because I “knew” it would be … Continue reading “Essential Reading for Trump Supporters”

“Why I Became a MAGA Conservative”

This is my second post on Charlie Kirk’s “manifesto” of the “Trump movement”, The MAGA Doctrine. My first post was a broad overview of the prism through which Kirk sees the world. Towards the end of his book Kirk reflects on how it all started, on what set him on “the road toward conservatism”: Who … Continue reading ““Why I Became a MAGA Conservative””

Dangerous Charisma, 2: How the Leader (Cult, Trump . . .) Unlocks the Followers

What follows is not an attempt to explain every person who supports Trump. But if the shoe fits, wear it, as the saying goes. What is uppermost in my mind as I read Post and Doucette’s analysis of the dynamic between a certain kind of charismatic leader and his/her followers is my own experience of … Continue reading “Dangerous Charisma, 2: How the Leader (Cult, Trump . . .) Unlocks the Followers”

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Back in 2015-2016 I was trying to understand the emergence and character of Islamic State and ended up purchasing and reading four books in particular that appeared to be authored by researchers whose credentials indicated that they should know what they are talking about: Cockburn, Patrick. 2015. The Rise of Islamic State: Isis and the … Continue reading “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”

The Quiet Before the Next Storm?

Jason Burke discusses the most recent UN report on the ISIS threat in The Guardian, New wave of terrorist attacks possible before end of year, UN says — UN report warns threat from Islamist extremist groups remains high The UN report’s summary: With the fall of Baghuz, Syrian Arab Republic, in March 2019, the geographical … Continue reading “The Quiet Before the Next Storm?”

Trump, Trump Supporters, and Cults

As many readers know I was a member of a religious cult for too many years in a former life and have since delved into some of the specialist literature by psychologists, sociologists and historians to help me reflect on and understand that experience. I have mentioned before how fascinated I was when once watching … Continue reading “Trump, Trump Supporters, and Cults”

On Being a Librarian

How it happened I never planned to be a librarian. An academic career was stymied as a consequence of joining up with the Worldwide Church of God. That episode brought chaos into my life that led to my early departure from advanced studies. Some years later after more advanced studies I was offered the opportunity … Continue reading “On Being a Librarian”

Waco (the background story)

James Haught of Daylight Atheism has posted the historical pathway that led to the Branch Davidians and the Waco disaster beginning from the Millerite movement of 1843 and 1844. The Story Behind Waco’s Tragedy It’s a story of dashed idealism, sordid and cruel moments, the power of belief, and too much that I can personally … Continue reading “Waco (the background story)”

Guns, Violence and Durkheim

Interesting to read an article by PhD candidate Galen Watts, Pioneering sociologist foresaw our current chaos 100 years ago in The Conversation.  Reminded me of what I once posted about Durkheim here: Understanding the Nature of Religion and the Religious. And that reminded me of something I read years back by Ghassan Hage in his book, Against Paranoid … Continue reading “Guns, Violence and Durkheim”

Why Blaming Islam for Terrorism is Misguided

Yes, we know that suicide terrorists regularly announce that they are killing in the name of Allah and they quote the Koran to justify what they are doing. And, of course we should, must, listen to what they say and take it seriously. Far from denying any of that, I think it is all necessary … Continue reading “Why Blaming Islam for Terrorism is Misguided”