Ed Brayton gets it exactly right,
I tend to giggle uncontrollably whenever I hear a creationist claim that the fossil record supports their belief in a young earth and a global flood. There are only two types of people who would say this: those who are abysmally ignorant of geology and those who lie through their teeth.
Just so. It’s binary: One believes in Young Earth Creationism, or doesn’t — and that’s that. If one does, that person is an ignoramus; if one doesn’t, but claims to, that person is a liar.
I remarked a couple of weeks ago that only the long work of secularism and education could end the religious violence now afflicting the world.
I understand Obama’s need to downplay any suggestion that America is engaged in some sort of crusade against Islam, but he went w-a-a-a-y too far when he said “No religion condones the killing of innocents.” Maybe Jainism, but that would be about it. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — the Abrahamic faiths — all have long and disgraceful histories of genocide; not one of them has shirked bloodshed, and a lot of it, in order to extend corporeal influence.
Only in the secular states has religious killing been tamped down; nowhere else. Christians still burn witches in Africa, Christians and Muslims kill each other relentlessly in Nigeria, and in a sane world Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians would make them pariahs everywhere.
That last points, I think, toward the only possible end of the endless bloodshed there — secularism and education, and those will need generations to do their work.
Today, the New York Times is on the same page.
These extremists use arms to fight their battles in the short term, but, to hold ground in the long run, they also combat Western education and women’s empowerment. They know that illiteracy, ignorance and oppression of women create the petri dish in which extremism can flourish.
That’s why the Islamic State kidnapped Samira Salih al-Nuaimi, a brave Iraqi woman and human rights lawyer in Mosul, tortured her and publicly executed her last week. That’s why the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai, then 15 years old, after she campaigned for educating girls. And that’s why Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls in northern Nigeria and announced that it would turn them into slaves.
In each case, the extremists recognized a basic truth: Their greatest strategic threat comes not from a drone but from a girl with a book.
The fight against religious extremism, domestically and abroad, is going to dominate the next 100-years — and it is not strictly a military engagement.
That’s Kevin Williamson, a National Review columnist, on women who have abortions.