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Old 01-22-2011, 06:57 AM
issue 37
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South Wales
Posts: 1,244
Re: Dutch on verge of getting most right wing government in the EU, in dutch history
Let me try to establish where I'm coming from with this by using some figures (admittedly pulled out my ass, but the accuracy isn't the point here - the reasoning behind my conclusion is.)

Let's look at the % of different family types who might have a family member that would act like this Harry Potter actress' brother. No offence intended from the order of this list, but for the sake of argument let's say that...

0.02% of non-religious families would have someone who'd act like this.
0.05% of Christian families
0.08% of Jewish families
0.09% of Hindu families
0.19% of Muslim families

Now from this data there would clearly appear to be a bigger problem among Muslim families than families of any other religion (and I readily suspect that would be the case in real life). In this case, they are almost ten times more likely to contain a family member who would physically attack their sister for not marrying in their faith than a similar person from a family at the other end of the scale.

BUT... it would still mean that more than 99% (or a vast majority) of Muslim families are NOT like that.

And that un-newsworthy majority would by definition be invisible to you and to many like you - essentially decent people I think - but who continue to fall for this cognitive error, and latch onto the spate of stories with the kind of confirmation bias that does your decency no favors. You'll tell yourself things like "well these things are constantly in the newspapers and on TV and it's ALWAYS Muslims so it must be true" - but each time you'll be failing to apply a proper level of critical analysis and perspective to what you're hearing or reading.

Now I want to assure you that I have no problem in recognizing the greater problem among Muslim families than families of other religions, and I'm under no illusions about the much greater problem of extremism. I know my experience of Muslims - with my partner's family and friends, and with my own experiences in London - are certainly not going to be universal.

The problem I have is when you and many others come out with pronouncements about "Muslims" (they're illiberal, they're anti-social and isolationist, etc) as if they're all the same. Not "some Muslims". Not "a few Muslims". Not "the less libeal Muslims" No... just "Muslims". Or statements like "The main problem with the muslims in france is that they don't want to be French" (from earlier in the thread).

Surely you can see how wrong, unfair, unkind and potentially counterproductive this kind of talk is?