Blog Entries



The Garissa terrorism attack by Al-Shabaab in Kenya, and its context

Posted 08-Apr-2015 at 03:23 PM (15:23) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Six days ago, Al Shabaab gunmen entered Garissa University and murdered at least 148 people. The initial death toll was reported as 147, thus the hashtag #147NotJustANumber, which was created by Kenyans to honor the murder victims. The terrorists had taken over 700 as hostages, then let most of the Muslim students go, and ended up murdering 149, mostly Christian students aged between 19 and 23. At least one Muslim was also murdered by the Al Shabaab terrorists.

Al Shabaab is an Islamist,...
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You won't find ISIS in the brain or genes. The Daily Beast tries to sell you an imaginary Brooklyn Bridge

Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 07:01 PM (19:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Some people have big problems living with uncertainty, so they like to drastically amputate parts of reality till they find a vision they can live with. Perhaps in line with that, David Ewing Duncan (@Duncande) has written an article on the Daily Beast, in which it is generally opined you may find ISIS in the brain, or the genes, or both. No clich remains unspurned in it, but it's the theology of the article that is the main problem. He starts off by saying:
"Call it a tale of two brains:
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Thank-you, @Nature! A stand made for both science and society against terrorism

Posted 15-Jan-2015 at 09:01 PM (21:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Nature, the famous, international, weekly journal of science, made a strong stand on the Charlie Hebdo terrorism attack. Nature issued a statement pointing out that free "scientific thinking and satire both religious and political are crucial in challenging and undermining dogma and authoritarianism". The statement also contained:
"The terrorists who murdered 17 people, including 8 staff members of the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, falsely claimed to act in the name
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The Pakistan situation after the #PeshawarAttack

Posted 17-Dec-2014 at 07:02 PM (19:02) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 17-Dec-2014 at 07:29 PM (19:29) by Gurdur

Nothing points to the moral and practical insanity widespread in Pakistan more than the example of the Afghanistan Taliban condemning the Pakistan Taliban for the murder of over 141 innocents, mostly children. One gang of murderers condemning another gang of murderers for murder. In the context of the latest Peshawar attack, also pointing to that moral and practical insanity are the examples of some demanding CNN stop creating a "false image of Pakistan", because those people forget Malala Yousafzai,...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

More details breaking as news on the Woolwich murder attack

Posted 22-May-2013 at 10:03 PM (22:03) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 23-May-2013 at 02:40 AM (02:40) by Gurdur

There are details as breaking news right at this minute of the crime at Woolwich, London, in in which two attacked a victim with knife and cleaver. My last blog post was about a series of tweets from a person who was an eyewitness at the Woolwich crime scene; this blog post is about the news just breaking now, and also the already-known video footage obtained by British Channel 4 News, as well as some questions of reporting ethics.

The man shown in the video below, and in the screencapture...
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Weird: John Horgan contra drones.

Posted 30-Oct-2012 at 03:17 PM (15:17) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 30-Oct-2012 at 05:46 PM (17:46) by Gurdur

In a blog post on the renowned Scientific American site, John Horgan (@Horganism) takes aim at drones, but unscientifically so. Right on the eve of the national election for the presidency, his blog post starts off with his stating that a lot of his liberal friends are "disappointed" with President Obama. Then Horgan zeroes in on drones and their use by the USA in Pakistan and the Yemen.

His entire argument is slapdash. He points to problems the Pakistani democracy has with legitimization...
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The (a)theology of being blown up; atheists in foxholes

Posted 20-Sep-2011 at 06:09 PM (18:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 21-Sep-2011 at 09:24 PM (21:24) by Gurdur

Owing to comments on a previous blog post of mine, I started thinking about comparisons between being burnt badly and being blown up. Having had both happen to me, being blown up is definitely better than being burnt badly, as long as you survive, lose no limbs or hearing permanently, and don't get burnt too much. Being blown up is over in a flash, leaving you to recover (I once knew a bloke, a fellow worker in a mine, who was blown 100 yards through a tunnel by an explosion, like a pea in a shooter...
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9/11 - the USA and beyond, as in Pakistan

Posted 11-Sep-2011 at 07:38 PM (19:38) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 11-Sep-2011 at 07:44 PM (19:44) by Gurdur

9/11 was marked today in the USA by a minutes' silence and, in New York City, sirens, and a remembrance ceremony at Ground Zero. Pakistan managed to officially send its support through its Foreign Ministry to the USA, also pointing out that Pakistan itself remains very much a victim of Islamist terrorism. And so it does; in the years between 2001 and now, Pakistan has suffered over 10,000 dead in that struggle.

And only a short while back the son of Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer, was kidnapped in Pakistan;...
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 01 August 2011

Posted 01-Aug-2011 at 05:51 PM (17:51) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 01-Aug-2011 at 07:03 PM (19:03) by Gurdur

Yes! The Society, Ethics And Science (SEAS) Weekly blogs round-up is back! This took one loooong vacation first because of my trip to the USA, then the emergency surgery and long recuperation afterwards, then far too many events happening all at once. But I see a real need for this weekly round-up; when I look around at the British religion/atheism scene, there simply isn't any good, comprehensive round-up going on, so someone has to do it. Lesley is still in her honeymoon period, and the Church...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Dr. Tim Stanley is clueless about theology, psychiatry, the law, ethics or the mind ....

Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 03:17 PM (15:17) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 26-Jul-2011 at 04:55 PM (16:55) by Gurdur

... but he really, really doesn't want you to make any connection between violent rhetoric and violent deeds. Dr. Tim Stanley has a PhD, but it would seem to be in history, and when he writes on psychiatry, you find out quickly why you go to a medical doctor and not a historian for medical matters including psychiatry. Stanley has written an ignorant piece for the Daily Telegraph blogs. In it, two of his concluding sentences are, "The kind of person who can systematically shoot and kill that many...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Anders Behring Breivik, the problem of evil, the demonization of the mentally ill, medicine, science and ethics

Posted 25-Jul-2011 at 07:01 PM (19:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Jul-2011 at 07:22 PM (19:22) by Gurdur

As people struggle to cope with Breivik's deeds, they often call him "deranged" and "insane", which is simply wrong, unscientific empty name-calling, and adds to the demonization of the actual mentally ill - most of whom will never hurt anyone but themselves if anyone. Most of us can agree that Breivik is evil, but evil is a very loose concept, often misused by people, adding to the confusion. Many of us can agree that there is no point in describing natural events or sheer randomicity as evil;...
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Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

Anders Behring Breivik, terrorism, and those who make excuses for terrorism

Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 06:37 PM (18:37) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 24-Jul-2011 at 07:42 PM (19:42) by Gurdur

Terrorism is the use of violent acts intended to create terror and which deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatant civilians, in pursuit of any alleged goal. By that and by any other reasonable definition of terrorism, Anders Behring Breivik is a terrorist. There is no excuse; he is a terrorist. The murder of innocents; Breivik went out of his way to specifically murder innocents, whether in Oslo or in Utya, many of them young teenagers. He is also a classical narcissist, unable...
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Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average.

Anders Behring Breivik identified as suspected rightwing terrorist behind Oslo bombing and Utoya shootings, Norway

Posted 23-Jul-2011 at 02:01 AM (02:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 23-Jul-2011 at 07:34 AM (07:34) by Gurdur

Apparently a Norwegian citizen, Anders B. Breivik, aged 32, has been identified as suspected of being an alleged rightwing terrorist behind the Oslo bombing and Utya shootings of today (Friday 22 July 2011). He has apparently been so named by Norwegian authorities. Seven people have been confirmed as dead as a result of the Oslo bombings, and seven to nine as a result of the linked Utoya shootings, but Norwegian police warn more deaths may be confirmed. Other sources give a total together of 17 dead and 90 hospitalized....
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The very first Pakistan Social Media Summit meets up in Karachi

Posted 12-Jun-2011 at 10:58 AM (10:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 12-Jun-2011 at 11:22 AM (11:22) by Gurdur

Apparently (organized on fairly short notice?) there has just met this weekend the very first Pakistan Social Media Summit (PKSMS), in Karachi, with the likes of the bloggers @sanasaleem, @RazaRumi (both regularly mentioned in my blog) and many others. It would have been really great to have gone to that, but I found out about it far too late, i.e., on Friday, which is definitely late.

You can read the tweetstream concerning the Pakistan Social Media Summit by searching with the hashtag #PKSMS....
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Investigative reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad tortured and murdered in Pakistan

Posted 01-Jun-2011 at 03:04 AM (03:04) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 01-Jun-2011 at 05:58 PM (17:58) by Gurdur

Another Pakistani investigative reporter, Syed Saleem Shahzad, who worked in Pakistan for a news service based in Hong Kong, has been murdered, and his body shows signs of having been beaten and possibly tortured in other ways. Syed Saleem Shahzad had very recently done a news story investigating into why Al-Qaeda had attacked a Pakistani naval base in Karachi on the 22nd of May; he wrote that it happened because negotiations between Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Navy had broken down, the negotiations...
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March in Egypt today; events in the Yemen and Pakistan, and a Doomsday/Rapture parody

Posted 27-May-2011 at 04:50 PM (16:50) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-May-2011 at 05:00 PM (17:00) by Gurdur

Not only am I (apocalyptically) flooded in what I need to blog about, having been knocked out of commission for over three weeks, but also very current events are having tsunami-like proportions for me, since I still cannot work fast or much (and I'm currently writing two long and difficult other blog posts I need to finish). So very quickly, a few things:

Another big demonstration today in Tahrir square, Cairo, Egypt, this time because of all the things the protestors have noticed...
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The events in Pakistan - the terrorist attacks in Karachi, and the fall-out from probes into the ISI

Posted 23-May-2011 at 08:25 PM (20:25) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 26-May-2011 at 12:21 PM (12:21) by Gurdur

So there was a terrorist attack on a Pakistan Navy base last night in Karachi, and the Pakistani Taliban took the credit for the attack, though other groups may have been involved. A long prolonged firefight followed, some of the terrorist attackers seem to have escaped capture, and at least 10 Pakistani military were killed in the firefight or otherwise by the terrorists in their attack....
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The death of Osama Bin Laden, and the awesome power of Twitter and social media

Posted 02-May-2011 at 05:54 PM (17:54) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-May-2011 at 03:42 PM (15:42) by Gurdur

So in an operation very near to Islamabad, Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden has been killed by USA forces. There is a Guardian report on it all here. The first reaction from official Pakistani sources close to the Pakistani military and ISI seems to have been almost panic, a denial that they knew of the operation at all; possibly this was a calculated denial, an attempt to deflect any anger inside Pakistan and Afghanistan. Certainly most in Pakistan were caught by surprise.

Twitter once...
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Jeff Bercovici, his personal grudges, citizen journalism, social media: Journalism 2.0 and the deaths in Afghanistan

Posted 08-Apr-2011 at 06:26 PM (18:26) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 08-Apr-2011 at 07:38 PM (19:38) by Gurdur

Very recently, as you know, UN and support staff were murdered in Mazar-e Sharif. Further demonstrations and riots have followed in that part of the world, all allegedly in response to the theatrical burning of the Qur'an by Pastor Terry Jones. "When Journalism 2.0 Kills" was how Jeff Bercovici, a columnist, described it, in his headline on his blog post made on the Forbes site. In that post, he used the deaths of UN staff and others to first blame, rightly or wrongly, a 21-year-old student who...
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The murders in Pakistan just go on and on and on and on; attack on Sufi shrine, Akbarpura, Nowshera District, eleven dead

Posted 05-Mar-2011 at 04:23 AM (04:23) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 05-Mar-2011 at 06:50 AM (06:50) by Gurdur

At least eleven people have been killed, and thirty-seven more injured, by an explosives attack on a mosque, at the Akhond Panjo Baba shrine in the village of Akbarpura in the Nowshera District, Pakistan. The attack came during the distribution of food after prayers.

The significance of this is that the mosque and shrine are Sufi Muslim. The Islam of the terrorists is often Barelvi, Deobandi (which both belong to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam) or similar.

All moderates...
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