Alternet, Islamophobia, Richard Dawkins, and Character Assassination

Posted: March 13, 2015 in Atheism, Politics
Tags: , , , ,

by Chaz Bufe, publisher See Sharp Press

Alternet, the leftist opinion site, has chosen for some inexplicable reason to run a very poorly argued piece by Richard Chu attacking atheist Richard Dawkins for being “racist” because he opposes Islam. Here are the first two paragraphs from Chu’s piece:

One of the most obnoxious refrains you hear when you complain about Islamophobia in the United States being a form of racism is “Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion.” It’s a nasty derailing technique that’s endorsed by luminaries such as Richard Dawkins.

And it’s wrong for transparent reasons. You don’t need to look far for other examples where religion and ethnicity are conflated within the logic of prejudice. You only need to look as far as the Holocaust, the single bloodiest genocidal campaign in history, which targeted anyone of Jewish ethnic descent regardless of what religious beliefs they professed, based on stereotypes that explicitly invoked biological, racial difference.

The entire thing continues at length in this vein.

First, notice that Chu nowhere attempts to prove that Islam is not a religion and is, rather, a race of people. (Follow the link to Chu’s piece to confirm this.) Next, notice that he nowhere shows any racial animus on Dawkins’ part. Instead, he relies on the weakest form of argument: argument by analogy. This form of “argument” doesn’t even attempt to prove its points. Rather, it relies on naked emotional appeal.

Further in his piece, Chu states:

But the sheer hypocrisy of saying that anti-Muslim prejudice is a consequence of rational disagreement with the tenets of Islam rather than xenophobic distrust of people who look different from “normal” Americans becomes most obvious when you see how much of it falls on Sikhs…..

What this has to do with Dawkins is anybody’s guess.

The point Chu is trying–and failing–to make is that because some who oppose Islam are racists, all who oppose Islam are racists. This is a major, and vile, contention, and Chu doesn’t even attempt to prove it. He just asserts it. One could just as well argue that because some people who believe the Earth revolves around the sun are racists, all who believe the Earth revolves around the sun are racists.

Chu simply equates Dawkins’ principled opposition to all forms of religion (including Islam) with the racism of some American conservatives. He doesn’t even try to prove that Dawkins’ reasons for oppositing Islam are the same as those of racist conservatives who oppose Islam, because he can’t. So he asserts that they are, relying on argument by analogy, much as some American right-wingers once argued that liberals were identical to Communists.

Chu apparently doesn’t realize that people oppose Islam for very different reasons. Or he’s deliberately ignoring that obvious fact in order to slander all who oppose Islam.

Chu is engaging in McCarthyism, in character assassination. Chu should be ashamed of himself for writing his piece, and the editors of Alternet should be even more ashamed of themselves for running it.

 

 

 

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  1. […] Alternet, Islamophobia, Richard Dawkins, and Character Assassination […]

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