September 18, 2006

I'm Having Nun Of It

Yahoo! News reports on an Italian nun killed in Somalia:
Sister Leonella, 65, was shot in the back four times by pistol-wielding attackers as she left the Austrian-run S.O.S. hospital at lunch time after finishing nursing school for trainee medics. Her bodyguard was also slain.
The article notes that
Several witnesses to Sunday's shooting speculated it was tied to the furor over Benedict's discussion last week, which included quoting a 14th century text that called some of Prophet Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman."
Now, the timing of the attack is certainly suggestive, but we are also told that,
Like many foreigners, Sister Leonella traveled with a bodyguard in this Horn of Africa nation, which slid into chaos after warlords overthrew Somalia's longtime dictator in 1991. A Swedish journalist, Martin Adler, was shot dead in June during a demonstration in Mogadishu.
So, I mean, Somalia: clearly not the safest place to spend one's vacation (who knew?!). Foreigners get shot there all the time — there's really no evidence at this point to show that the nun was shot specifically in response to the Pope's remarks, other than some coincidental timing (and as we all know, correlation doesn't prove causation, yada yada yada).

Still, let's see how this gets picked up by the right wing bloggers:
A nun who had spent most of her life helping sick people was murdered today by Muslims retalliating for Pope Benedict’s remarks about the violent nature of Islam.

But, come on, let's be fair here, the author is an open-minded guy, certainly not the type who would misuse suggestive language to make racist and inflammatory blanket statements:
I’m sure there are plenty of Muslims around the world who welcome [a Socratic] dialogue [on Islamic doctrine]. Indeed, they probably constitute a majority of educated Muslims. The problem, though, is that most Muslims are kept ignorant by their societies.
So what you're saying is: most Muslims are violent because they're stupid, but even among the not stupid ones, some are still violent anyway. Tell me, are you one of the educated Christians or one of the Christians kept ignorant by his society?

Okay, now finish us off with a real zinger:
Patrick Frey joins me in noting the irony of protesting the suggestion that Islam is violent by rioting and murdering.
Hey-oh! Supah snap on Islam! Man, I bet they don't even know what irony means!

So, in summary: assuming motive due to coincidental timing = bad; ignoramuses making sweeping generalisations about heterogeneous cultural groups = worse; health workers (nuns or otherwise) getting shot = worst.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that I agree with your comment that correlation doesn't mean causation. If you examine the frequency with which one correlating event is the cause of the other correlating event, you will find that this happens astongishingly often. Therefore, one can safely conclude that correlation means causation.


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