February 20, 2007

Latest podcast available

My latest audiocast has been posted here. You can subscribe to this feed.

In this episode I discuss Holocaust deniers and global warming skeptics, the phenomenon of Islamic fascism, and cyber-warfare and the 'blogger threat'.


Dustin said...

Love today's podcast George, but I noticed one problem in it. At 8m45s you mentioned Oregon governor Kulongoski's consideration to "fire George Taylor as the State Climatologist". Unfortunately there are a couple of problems with that statement:

1) Taylor is an employee of the Oregon State University and isn't on Gov. Kulongoski's payroll.

2) Oregon doesn't have a "State Climatologist", and the title Taylor lays claim to was given to him by one person: himself.

Other than that great podcast; keep up the good work :)

George said...

Whoops! Got my signals crossed there. Thanks for the clarification.

Pendula said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the latest podcast. It was nice to hear your thoughts stated in such an eloquent way. I must say that I appreciate your evenhanded advocacy of free-speech and even refrained from citing Godwin's law despite the fact that people were invoking it. Keep up the good work!

Gnorb said...


Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome set of podcasts and blogs. I first ran into you by way of BetterHumans and have been an avid reader/listener of the blog/podcast ever since. Keep up the awesome work.

George said...

Gnorb: Thanks for the kind words. Positive feedback motivates me to keep blogging and podcasting.

mw said...


Regarding your post “Islamic fascism? Actually, yes”, I fully agree with what you said about the essential nature of that phenomenon (due to sound card problems I can only refer to the text, rather than your current podcast).

The only issue I have is with your remark in this post where you “take great pains to distinguish between Islamic fundamentalism and the more commonly recognized benign and mainstream variant of Islam”.

It is a common sentiment made against the background of undeniable extremism and larger Muslim populations not directly connected with it. The salient words are “not directly”.

I consider regarding Islam in general as a benign religion an abrogation of one’s need to consider Middle Eastern as well as Western history. The existence of despotism is a hallmark of Islamic governances, from the Middle Ages towards the present. In this century an analysis of national markers such as political systems, public health, literacy rates, women’s rights, child mortality, and human rights in general puts Islamic states consistently in the lower rungs of what is achievable. One reference would be http://info.worldbank.org/governance/kkz2005/worldmap.asp#map presenting maps of the world in terms of those factors where the bias can be readily seen.

The fundamental nature of Middle Eastern religions should not be overlooked, and in this context our own past under the dominance of the Christian Church demonstrated the brutality of what a brand of theocracy can do through such monstrosities as the Inquisition and the never-ending persecution of science. Unfortunately this tends to be forgotten, and our present freedoms are not a function of Christian dogma but rather the result of efforts by individuals who subscribed to the tenets of the Enlightenment. The present-day Christian churches are not a true example of this type of religion.

In addition I would point to the concept of the crime pyramid, a view that relates to the pyramid-like propensity of humans to commit illegal acts, from the trivial at the bottom to the peak representing rape and murder. In this case the structure encompasses human nature in general, and highlights the mutual connectedness of its layers where a lower provides the psychological sustenance for its higher neighbour. I would suggest this can be transposed into similar scenarios of a religious nature, where again more extreme acts would not exist without the ground having been prepared by others of a more benign nature.

Consider also the report "Living apart together" (http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/) which found a disturbing trend towards extremism in second and third generation Muslims in the UK. Without the cultural ambience of their demographics these developments would not have been possible.

Although there can be a fine line between presumption and diligence, the current black-and-white differentiation between Islam and Islamism obscures a very real potential danger for secular democracies.