Keith Kloor strikes again

The devout accommodationist Keith Kloor has struck again (you’ll find three posts about him on this site if you search for “Kloor”). I am apparently an Islamophobe for saying that Islam was behind the Boston bombing. Actually, I didn’t say that Islam was behind the bombings—Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the bombers, did!

I’ll put up Kloor’s entire new column on Discover Magazine.

The man is angry: according to my friends who read Twitter, he’s been ragetweeting about my post for a while.  I”m sorry, Mr. Kloor, but I don’t read Twitter.  And I don’t have to answer this because his commenters are doing it quite effectively.

Picture 1


  1. @eightyc
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink


    what exactly is “fundamentalist atheism”

    having never played cricket, am I then a fundamentalist non-cricketeer?


    I dunno how else I can be more fundamental in my not playing of cricket. haha

    Do I stay at least 100 meters away from any field where they can possibly play cricket?

    Would that be fundamentalist non-cricketeering?

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you horrid person you, not only are you a fundamentalist non-cricketeer, but you are strident and militant, too.

      • Gimmepaws
        Posted April 23, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Why do you hate cricket so much? What has it done to you?

      • Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        If everyone else around was playing cricket, yet you refused to play regardless of circumstances or entreaties, yes, that is “fundamental, strident non-cricketplaying!”

        I mean, you didn’t even say one good word about cricket! That is the “New non-cricketplaying”.

        • @eightyc
          Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          ok fine you’ve all convinced me to have a go at the wickets.

    • TJR
      Posted April 24, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink

      Maybe the attackers of the Sri Lankan cricket team were really fundamentalist anti-cricketers, rather than fundamentalist moslems as we all thought?

      In many ways that is the scariest of all the terrorist attacks – imagine if it had been a successful attack on the Indian cricket team. Sachin Tendulkar killed by moslem terrorists doesn’t bear thinking about.

  2. Posted April 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Who the hell is Keith Kloor and why are you bringing him page hits?

  3. Fragmeister
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I used to play cricket but I saw the light.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      You have closed your mind. If you would just wish upon a star, the truth of cricket would become clear to you.

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Pro tip: when playing cricket, look at the ball, not the light. This tip is brought to you by a specialist #11 batsman.

  4. Ed Venegas
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    So if I said that Christians were behind the Inquisition, would I be a fundamentalist atheist “Christianaphobe”?

  5. wilzardthespy
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    So, uh, I am no fan of Keith Kloor. He almost never presumes to grace us with his own arguments, instead preferring to use quotes and arguments from authority to explain his positions.

    Kloor responds to one of the comments criticizing his use of the undefined term “fundamentalist atheist” saying that he just does not like how vocal atheists always seem to go after the most fundamental religionists to phrase arguments against belief (or something of the like).

    The quality of writers and writing on Discover Blogs has really gone down in the last year or so.

  6. Posted April 23, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! 🙂

  7. dth
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    At least he seems to be an equal opportunity accomodationist. Others are accomodationists for Islam only.

  8. Chaos Engineer
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    So if I said that Christians were behind the Inquisition, would I be a fundamentalist atheist “Christianaphobe”?

    It depends on context. In politics, the suffix “-phobe” carries the implication that the target is a member of a persecuted minority group. (So, for example, we have the word “homophobe” but not “heterophobe”; “xenophobe” but not “endophobe”. This might seem unfair at first glance, but people who aren’t persecuted have other advantages.)

    Since the US is Christian-majority, it’s not considered Christianphobic to mention the Inquisition, especially if you’re rebutting the argument that Christian-majority cultures are inherently moral.

    But it could be Christianphobic to bring up the Inquisition in a country where Christians are a persecuted minority, especially if you’re using it to bolster an argument that law-abiding Christians should have their rights restricted even further.

    • Marella
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Since vegans are a very small minority, I must be a veganophobe, perhaps I should turn myself into the political correctness police.

      • Chaos Engineer
        Posted April 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Vegans aren’t really a persecuted minority. Sometimes they find it hard to find businesses that cater to them, but that’s because they’re a niche market, not because people want to exclude them from the greater society.

        If they became persecuted, you’d be considered a veganophobe if you actively persecuted them, or if you passively supported the social norms that allowed them to be persecuted. Is this the sort of thing you’re likely to do?

        I’m not sure what you mean by “political correctness police”. If you go around spreading hatred, then decent human beings will condemn that, but (in the US) you can’t get arrested for it until you commit an actual crime.

    • microraptor
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      So because atheists are a persecuted minority in the US, Keith Kloor is an atheistphobe?

  9. Posted April 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’m a radical militant atheist.

    I’m so radically militant that I might even go so far as to tell religious people to grow up and stop pretending that a really bad faery tale about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry wizard has any bearing on modern life whatsoever.

    Ha! Take that!

    Why, I might even, if I’m feeling radically militantly enough, snigger at somebody for wanting to play Doubting Thomas and thrust a “finger” in Jesus’s “side.”

    Yes indeedy do, I’m the most badass hyper-radical ultra-militant atheist you can imagine. Fear me! Tremble at the mere thought of me unleashing my farts in your general direction!



    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      And if that isn’t enough, think of the cat that owns him.

      Tremble, you fools!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha I love that the commenters on this blog always have a good grasp of Monty Python quotes. You could add, when addressing the religious, your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! But that might be too much of an ad hominem 🙂

      • Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps if, instead of using evidence and reason, we built a large wooden badger…

    • Posted April 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      The false equivalency you’re pointing out here is so depressing.

      It makes me want to go all Will Ferrell: “I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!”

  10. Skepticook
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    “Devout accommodationist” has quite a ring to it. Could someone be a “devout fundamentalist acommodationist”? If he’s religious about it, I think so.

  11. crusherofdreams
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Crap. Posted in the wrong place. I’ll get the hang of this intertubez stuff even if it kills me.

    Would someone please enlighten me? What the hell is “fundamentalist atheism”? If I had to guess, I’d go with emotive gibberish.

    • Sastra
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      A ‘fundamentalist atheist’ is an atheist who tries to convince the religious to change their minds. A fundamentalist atheist does not bend over backwards trying to figure out how important it is to let people keep their faith and how lovely faith is when it is “done right.” In fact, they do the opposite.

      That is usually the main charge the liberal mainstream has against fundamentalists: they proselytize. They tell other people their religion is WRONG and the fundamentalist’s religion is RIGHT. That is taboo. You’re supposed to agree to disagree and then emphasize the common ground. Compromise.

      Which works fine if religion is supposed to be about self-expression and nobody really cares whether any of it is actually true. Apparently, though, they do.

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      A fundamentalist atheist is an atheist who takes atheism seriously. Just like a religious fundamentalist is someone who takes religion seriously. In a way, they both care about the truth (as they see it).

      Moderates on both sides, on the other hand, don’t care about the truth as much as they care about good manners.

      I’m only half joking.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 24, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Since ‘the truth’ is usually crap, moderates win hands down in my estimation. (Specially if you substitute ‘tolerance’ for ‘good manners’…).

        And I’m absolutely dogmatic about that. 😉

        • Brygida Berse
          Posted April 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          Since ‘the truth’ is usually crap

          You obviously are not familiar with this little thing called science :-). Try to read about it some time. It’s really fascinating. And it works.

          Truth is all there is.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 24, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

            You may have missed it but I put ‘truth’ in quotes, since everybody seems to have their own version of it. I doubt any scientist would claim to know the whole truth (and no I’m not coming from some woo-ish metaphysical stance when I say that, I firmly believe that science is the best method we have of finding out – well, almost anything, really. I have read a few books about that little thing, by the way).

            Fundamentalists, OTOH, have no trouble in concluding that they are in sole possession of the truth. So if truth is all there is, we’re in dead trouble, aren’t we?

            • Brygida Berse
              Posted April 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

              I doubt any scientist would claim to know the whole truth

              I didn’t suggest that. However, even though it is impossible to be absolutely certain about anything, scientists constantly try to find the best approximation of the truth. That they base their inquiry on evidence and understand its limitations sets them apart from religious fundamentalists, of course, but at least the fundamentalists do not claim that the truth doesn’t matter.

              On the other hand, accommodationists often suggest, or on occasion even state openly, that truth is relative, that everyone is entitled to their own version of it, and that the search for truth is not as important as avoiding offending people’s beliefs.

              In short, a fundamentalist says: I know from holy books and personal revelation that God exists. A “strident” atheist replies: there is no evidence for it, as myths and revelation do not constitute evidence. And an accommodationist says: stop arguing, it doesn’t matter. This way they can feel superior to everyone.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted April 26, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

                Yeah, well, truth isn’t relative, and extreme cultural relativism (‘other ways of knowing’ etc) is BS. People are entitled to their own opinions, of course, and they frequently think those opinions are ‘the truth’, hence my scepticism of the term.

                I’d still rather encounter an accomodationist than a heretic-burning fundamentalist, though. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise on what you regard as true, but it’s (almost) never worth killing somebody over.

    • crusherofdreams
      Posted April 24, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      I believe you all have missed the most important attribute of “fundamentalist” atheism. It’s the maintenance of a perpetual state of stridency. It’s all all about being strident. To hear some of our more vacuous critics – as Kloor appears to be – spin it, anyway.

  12. Jonathan Smith
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I see many posters on Pandas Thumb are flogging Jerry about his comments, accusing him of being militant, islamaphobic and non-scientific. Their reading comprehension must be very poor. Several of them stated that they have been banned from this site or had their postings removed. I thought these guys were on our side?

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Well, if you take anything with rational atheist beginnings, and make it out as accommodationist, disgustingly religious belief-in-belief possible, complete with theological evidence-disregarding NOMA claims and all, without actually founding a church – that is PT.

      They do have some interesting biology from time to time though, even the squiddly one can guest post.

    • Marella
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      It has always been a case of looking for the pearls in the swine-feed at Panda’s Thumb, which I why I don’t go there much, CBF.

      • lamacher
        Posted April 24, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        I go there evry few days to sniff the Bathroom Wall. They have three or four fundamentalist loonies posting there regularly. It’s a good way to keep your antibody levels against insane religion high.

  13. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    So listening to your government is “intolerant”? I would think it needs a lot of tolerance, for example for the quality of their findings. Eg “Apparently”.

    Kloor-inating the Discover Blogs may have finally rendered them sterile.

    • Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Just what I was going to note.

      “Intolerant” atheists? “Intolerant”?

      I don’t think he’s really thought about what is is he’s asking us to tolerate.

      Should the battered wife tolerate her abuser?

  14. Sastra
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    If you had written “Religion apparently behind Boston bombing” I wonder if Kloor would have thought that was better, worse, or the same?

    My own guess is that he would have gotten indignant anyway, but for slightly different reasons. How dare you imply ALL religions are responsible for their fanatics and/or that there is no difference between religions. But had you written “Politics apparently behind Boston bombing” — would he accuse you of advocating anarchy?

    I wonder if radical Muslims enjoy helpful people re-translating what they say motivates them.

  15. Kevin Anthoney
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Before the Unabomber was caught, I bet very few people thought “I’ll bet it’s an environmentalist”. On the other hand, loads of people suspected the Boston bombers would be Islamists. Kloor might want to ponder why the “islamophobes” turned out to be right.

  16. Rory
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not forget that both Islam & the brothers Tsarnaev remain innocent until proven guilty.

    • notsont
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      While I agree he should get a fair trial, Trying to claim innocence at this point is not gonna fly. They have him on video, they confessed to it, and they got into fights with police using IEDs. I suppose he could be found to be incompetent though.

      • brad
        Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        I mean, the belief that they are guilty is like, all other beliefs, provisional, though in this case quite likely to be true, for the reasons notsont gives. It COULD come out that this has been some massive coordinated attempt to pin this on two guys, etc., but that’s quite unlikely (though not impossible). I’ll call ’em guilty–one will never get to have a trial, and unless there is some conspiracy like I mention, he was behaving quite violently when he was killed. Good riddance. The other guy gets a trial, and in a court of law he is innocent until proven guilty. I also agree the media should act taht way. The innocent until proven guilty thing though does not apply outside of these contexts.

      • microraptor
        Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Besides that, presumption of innocence only applies to the judge and jury of the case.

  17. Boris Molotov
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    If we replace the actors with a racist Neo-Nazi and a synagogue being blown up killing a bunch of people and say “Racism apparently behind synagogue bombing” I am sure you would not hear “Jerry is a racistphobe.”. These same people would be rightfully condemning the racist.

    What a canard, Islam is not a Muslim in the same way as racism is not racist. Why is this so difficult to understand.

    • Boris Molotov
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      racism is not A racist. oops

  18. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Notice Kloor has updated his post to say Jerry is using semantics which from what Kloor uses as evidence of “semantics” means it needs to be redefined explaining oneself clearly.

  19. Posted April 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    The suspects’ mother did them no favours this morning, ranting about how they were good boys who hadn’t done it, and finishing “And Allahu ackbar!!”

  20. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    If fundamentalists Christians regard the words of the bible as the literal truth, what is the fundamental atheists’ sacred text to take literally?

    • Sines
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Well, that’s simple. There’s only one atheist belief. That there is insufficient reason to believe in a god.

      Since this is a requirement to being an atheist, it means that all atheists are by definition holding to the literal interpretation of their doctrine absolutely.

      Hence, all atheists are fundamentalists.

      Except for those liberal atheists, who interpret it differently. Stupid liberal atheists, always talking about translation errors in Websters…

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Seems sound. I was really hoping the text would be Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy though. 🙂

        • Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          That’s like the story about the thousands of atheist rioting after a blank sheet of paper was found on a cartoonist’s desk.

          • JBlilie
            Posted April 24, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink


  21. Skepticook
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I just looked at Keith Kloor’s column in Discover Magazine. The only pro Keith Kloor comments I could find were written by Keith Kloor himself. It appears that he has no fans or anybody else who wants to defend him.

    • Marella
      Posted April 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      He’ll just use the “I must have struck a nerve” defense, to insist that the more people tell him how wrong he is the more right he is.

  22. Posted April 23, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Keith Kloor: Andrew Sullivan on steroids.

    • magster2
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      At least in this particular instance, the comparison is inapt. While Sullivan has flown off the handle at Jerry in the past (“Has he even read the fucking thing?”), Sullivan’s posts on the role of Islam in the bombings put him much more in Jerry’s camp than Keith’s. Since I have a subscription to the Daily Dish, I don’t know exactly which content is publicly available, so you may not have had a chance to see these.

  23. ladyatheist
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    so the fact that the guy was a fundamentalist muslim was just a coincidence? uhhh not likely

  24. Kotrova
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    There is absolutely no question that the Boston bombers were motivated by Islam. Denying the plain facts is nonsense. Here are four facts about the bomber’s motivation and background.

    1. NYT: “Boston Suspect Cites Islamic Extremist Beliefs as Motive”

    2. Boston Globe: “Bomb suspect influenced by mysterious radical”

    3. The bomber’s mainstream mosque in Dagestan:

    The branch of Islam that apparently motivated Tamerlan Tsarnaev is
    mainstream Islam in Makhachkala, Dagestan. According to TIME, the
    Russians were watching Tamerlan because of his involvement at the Salafi
    Kotrova Street Mosque (, مسجد كوتروفا). Using Google translate, here’s a taste of the sort of sermon delivered at this mosque ( in July 2010:

    “God does not accept pure filth, shirk mixed, and the desire to communicate with claim outweigh the infidels on God in judgment, and legislation. Do not fool yourself and do not fool others. … in spite of the victims, which are inevitable in war, those who want to join the ranks of the Mujahideen is increasing every day. The best good guys are sacrificing their lives for God and do not bargain [with] polytheism and Juggernaut authorities. … God will accept nothing but the Quran and Sunnah … Therefore all the talk ho tolerance, such as tolerance with immorality and infidelity, and the multiplicity of the right, Kaljma between Sharia and the laws of the idol, and the rights of human beings, Kadaa one succumb to the laws of superstitious, and democracies, as arbiter of the majority, even if they are an infidel and other terms the many is not only a reference and life according to the law Juggernaut , unacceptable to unify Muslim. So must all the Muslims of the Caucasus, to accelerate the establishment of Sharia, and follow the Muslim ruler, and obedience to the judge in the Islamic Shariah is obligatory.
    Jamaat Shariat”

    Read this mainstream Islamic sermon delivered at a major mosque in
    the Dagestani capital city, and then explain why anyone concerned about
    this widespread problem is “intolerant.”

    4. The bomber’s mainstream mosque in Cambridge MA:

    USA Today: “Mosque that Boston suspects attended has radical ties”

    “Several people who attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Mass., have been investigated for Islamic terrorism, including a conviction of the mosque’s first president, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in connection with an assassination plot against a Saudi prince.

    “And its sister mosque in Boston, known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, has invited guests who have defended terror suspects. A former trustee appears in a series of videos in which he advocates treating gays as criminals, says husbands should sometimes beat their wives and calls on Allah (God) to kill Zionists and Jews ….”

    • Larry Gay
      Posted April 24, 2013 at 3:49 am | Permalink

      Thank you Kotrova. I applaud people who introduce new facts into the discussion. Perhaps someone can do some polishing of the Google translation.

  25. Diane G.
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink


  26. Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    By definition, any belief of faith that has to do with the existence of a Supreme Being is a religion, and that includes atheism and Obama supporters.

    • Marcoli
      Posted April 24, 2013 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      Just baiting the atheists? The first clause of your statement defining belief in a Supreme Being by faith is ok, but the rest is pure nonsense. Atheism is a way of looking at things, sure, but it is the opposite of religion simply b/c it is not based on faith as it is used here. Atheism is based on rational thinking and evidence. It is not based on stories or mythology. One could go on.

    • Marta
      Posted April 24, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      Please come back when you can’t stay so long. Don’t forget your coat!

  27. JBlilie
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    From Sam Harris:

    The general blindness of secular academics to the religious roots of Muslim violence is easily explained. As my friend Jerry Coyne once observed, when confronted with a transparently religious motive (e.g. “I will blow myself up to get into paradise”), secular scholars refuse to take it at face value; they always look for the “deeper” reasons—economic, political, or personal—behind it. However, when given economic, political, or personal motives (e.g. “I did it because they stole my family’s land, and I felt totally hopeless.”), these researchers always seem to take a person at his word. They never dig for the religious motive behind apparently terrestrial concerns. The game is rigged. This is how an anthropologist like Scott Atran can interview dozens of jihadists—each of whom rattles on about God and paradise—and come out thinking that the doctrine of Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.

  28. JBlilie
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Also from Sam Harris:

    I recently suggested to [Glenn] Greenwald on Twitter that we settle our dispute by holding simultaneous cartoon contests. He could use his Guardian blog to solicit cartoons about Islam, and I’d use my website to run a similar contest for any other faith on earth. As will come as no surprise, the man immediately started sputtering non-sequiturs.


  29. marvol19
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    “I’m no fan of religion myself, but I’m also no fan of fundamentalist atheism”? Really?

    Here we go again…

%d bloggers like this: