ReligionSkepticism

Richard Dawkins Sounds Like a Paranoid Child Hating Conspiracy Theorist

No, really. Don’t accept my opinion on it, just go look at his twitter feed and be sure to note the glorious RT’s he is making.

What got him riled up this time you ask? He saw in the news that a teen-aged ISIS member horrifically executed someone. So he linked to a photo of that execution and instead of being a genuine and insightful leader and speaking out against the atrocities of that particular violence, he instead directed his anger and hyperbolic tweets (sent to his 1.3 million followers) towards the young American Muslim boy who made a clock for his science class. He used that image to talk about the young American boy, Ahmed.

Yeah, that’s right. Remember Texas schoolboy Ahmed Mohamed? Dawkins sure does and calls him “Hoax Boy”, which if you google, has become a meme! How meta!

After being arrested and humiliated for doing his science homework, Ahmed accepted a scholarship in Qatar and is currently suing Texas for 15 million dollars and asking for a written apology from the local mayor and the police chief. Seems about right to me. And someone might want to add Dawkins to that apology list cuz he seems convinced that Ahmed and his family are organized scam artists embroiled in some sort of cash-grab opportunist conspiracy plot– and Richard refuses to shut up about it.

Read his feed for more!

You know, for the past few years I have done my best to keep my head down and avoid the mainstream skeptic and atheist communities because I received so much hate during the time that Dawkins attacked this blog and Rebecca that it made me not want to have anything to do with the so-called “community.” I can only imagine what atheism looks like to an outsider who doesn’t have friends who are out atheists when they see arguably the most influential man in the atheist community spending his time picking on feminists, social justice activists… and now children.

I said this on my twitter but I’ll say it here before I go back to having a lovely day carving out my own world away from the stereotypical angry atheists:

Remember everyone, the goal is to “punch up” when dismantling or making fun of hierarchies such as religion and racism, not down. If you can “punch down” you are already displaying your power differential. You have more. Taking more doesn’t change the system of oppression. But you all are smart and already know this and can see through the BS and pointlessness of hero worship and bigotry. The emperor’s clothes are fading.

featured image wiki creatives commons via: https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthia/174219809/

Amy Roth

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is the founder and president of the Los Angeles Women's Atheist and Agnostic Group: LAWAAG. She is also the fearless leader of Mad Art Lab and cohost of Mad Art Cast. Support her on Patreon. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+.

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44 Comments

  1. November 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm —

    How long before he just goes away?

    It really embarrasses me now that “God Delusion” played such a big role in my loss of faith. I don’t want to tell people that anymore. I’m ashamed of it.

    I can’t even recommend “Greatest Show on Earth” anymore, despite it being perhaps the most exhaustive popular round-up of the evidence for evolution in book form.

    When will somebody just get him the fuck off Twitter?

    Please?

    • November 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm —

      I don’t think PCT goes away so easily. I mean, theories about the Kennedy assassination didn’t just go away when we faked the moon landing. ;) (And note to WordPress: We need emojis.)

  2. November 24, 2015 at 12:56 pm —

    What the hell? That kid didn’t hoax anyone. He’s not the one who claimed the clock was a bomb. In fact, he denied it every step of the way.

    Did I miss something or is Dawkins just being his usual piece-of-shit self?

    • November 27, 2015 at 12:07 pm —

      Just remember, Saddam Hussein sent all those WMD to Syria so he could embarrass the US. And died in the process.

      The one thing I’ve learned is, never try to parody a conspiracy theory. They’ve already hatched ideas far more ridiculous than you can possibly imagine.

  3. November 24, 2015 at 1:00 pm —

    So tired of this stuff and that he’s still a top billing speaker. Having branched out a bit into the broader atheist and even feminist communities I’ve really come to appreciate how lucky I was to land in this particular subset of the atheo-skipti-intersectional-femisphere. It so nice to read from people who aren’t still at the sub-101 level on racism, sexism, privilege, etc., care about critical thinking, and are willing to extend empathy beyond their own group.
    I’m genuinely sorry that Dawkins is one of the top, visible representatives of the broader movement.

  4. November 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm —

    At one stage I was looking forward to when my kids were old enough to get them “The Magic of Reality”. Now I feel glad that I mostly own electronic versions of Dawkins books so no one can see them on my shelf.

  5. November 24, 2015 at 1:24 pm —

    I guess I’m wondering why you’re so convinced the kid isn’t being disingenuous. I don’t know one way or another, though I didn’t think of ‘scam’ right away. What I did think was that making a clock in a suitcase obviously looks like a bomb from the movies, which I would have thought was cool when I was that kid’s age.

    • November 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm —

      “I guess I’m wondering why you’re so convinced the kid isn’t being disingenuous”

      Because nothing about his behavior suggests it? The complaint against him is entirely based on what he COULD have done, not what he actually did.

      If he had say it was a bomb, that would have been a problem.
      If he had placed it somewhere to be found, where passersby might think it was a bomb, that would have been a problem.
      If he had refused to explain himself, leaving open the possibility it was a bomb, that would have been a problem.

      He didn’t do any of those things. He didn’t do anything remotely indicating a criminal intent. If this kid was intending to perpetrate a hoax, he’s the most incompetent hoaxer on the planet.

      • November 25, 2015 at 6:47 pm —

        “If this kid was intending to perpetrate a hoax, he’s the most incompetent hoaxer on the planet.”

        Of course, the mistake you’re making is in thinking that the hoax was that the clock was a bomb. No, obviously not. Dawkins would never be so irrational as to claim that Ahmed had made a hoax bomb when the available evidence runs directly counter to that. No, his crime is far, far worse than that. He claimed to have invented it. Can you imagine!?

    • November 24, 2015 at 3:57 pm —

      Why should anyone be so convinced that he IS being disingenuous? Of what we’ve been provided, there’s nothing that makes assuming he hoaxed anyone the most logical conclusion. As noted by lykex, nothing of the behavior is consistent with a hoax. He didn’t leave it to be found, he didn’t say it was a bomb, he didn’t get caught with it, he didn’t do anything hoax-like. He PRESENTED IT to his teacher and described it as exactly what it was. It takes some severe reverse psychology to plan for his teacher to assume he was lying about it and that it was a bomb (but not really, since nobody cleared the school), and therefore create some sort of reverse psychology hoax.

      Also, it was in a pencil box, not a suitcase.

      • November 24, 2015 at 6:01 pm —

        Sure, that’s all valid. It’s just pretty easy for me to get to he was sort of secretly making something that looked like a bomb on purpose, either to push buttons or because that’s the kind of stuff adolescent boys do.

        Dawkins is [over]reacting to the fact that it’s been shown that Ahmed just disassembled a commercially available clock and put it in a pencil box. He even left the wires naked in such a way to invoke that classic movie bomb look. Dawkins went way beyond his purview when publicly crying foul and trying to get at the kid’s motive. What he may be missing is that it just might be possible that the kid did take apart a clock and put it in a pencil box to make it look like his because he was trying to get away with an easy A. Nobody is claiming that the kid was outright claiming it to be a bomb. But he’s a kid.

        It’s just that even though none of us were there people seem so sure one way or another. This article, for example, seems to be toeing the liberal assumption line pretty hard. This was a clear cut case of racism, Dawkins is even more vile because look at that he’s targeting a kid, etc. There IS racism, white privilege, oppression, fearmongering, but shouldn’t we choose our battles and not go out of our way to show the world what non-racists we are by flocking to assumptions and getting involved in things we can’t possibly know enough about to speak to with authority? Accusing Dawkins, buffoon he may be, of indulging in top-down oppressions and saying this kid is was doing nothing at all more than “doing his science homework” is making all the same assumptions.

        • November 24, 2015 at 7:08 pm —

          For that matter, how do we know it wasn’t aliens? I mean, it could have been aliens. Until we’re certain, we should really give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt.

          • November 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm

            You’re oversimplifying my points and putting words in my mouth, though that seems to be the MO here. We’re not giving anybody the benefit of the doubt, sigh. Skeptics should be betterrrrrrrrr.

          • November 24, 2015 at 7:52 pm

            Dawkins’ history shows he deserves no benefit of the doubt. There is no reason to believe that it was a hoax therefore the old white dude putting forward a conspiracy theory like allusion to a hoax deserves to be treated in a non-serious way.

            This was not a graded assignment, this was something Ahmed did on his own because he was excited about science that he wanted to show to his science teacher when the English teacher saw it and without asking Ahmed about it told on him at which time he was brought to the office and interrogated without his parents present and with the local police officer saying “That’s who I thought it was” when Ahmed walked in.

            But yes, we are going out of our liberal way to make Dawkins look bad. Seems legit.

          • November 24, 2015 at 8:03 pm

            Okay then, let’s lay it out.

            As skeptics, at what point are we allowed to make a judgement on a person’s motivations? At what point can we presume Dawkins a racist, given his long history and this most recent tweet juxtoposing Ahmed Mohamed with a child soldier? At what point can we presume Ahmed innocent, given that we’ve got nothing on him save for vague insinuations?

            You’re a hair away from “can we ever really know anything?”

        • November 25, 2015 at 9:57 am —

          “He even left the wires naked in such a way to invoke that classic movie bomb look.”

          Every amateur electronics project in the history of time has wires that look like that.

          “This article, for example, seems to be toeing the liberal assumption line pretty hard.”

          How exactly you determine the difference between “toeing the line” and “thinking about it and reaching the same conclusion as other people who also thought about it”? Is everyone who disagrees with you on this “toeing the line”? If so, you might consider that perhaps the problem is less about other people “toeing a line”, and more about you can’t wrap your head around people disagreeing with you.

          • November 25, 2015 at 11:08 am

            I guess there isn’t much left for me to say in response to this other than I made it clear that I think there is sufficient ambiguity to refrain from painting this in such simple terms. So by toeing the line I meant that this ambiguity is ignored in favor of taking the position that of racism and oppression tells the whole story.

            It seems to me that, if you (and others) are going to make guesses as to what my problem might be, it just may be that I’m not the one experiencing emotional difficulty with being disagreed with.

        • November 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm —

          Ok, let’s be skeptical! What are your priors? This is a kid interested in STEM. Based on that, building a clock has a pretty high prior probability, while building a bomb has a very low probability, and building a hoax bomb has probably an even worse probability. What’s your evidence to counter this which makes you feel that the probability he was building a hoax bomb is high?

        • November 25, 2015 at 1:10 pm —

          “That’s the kind of stuff adolescent boys do”

          Really. Adolescent boys routinely make fake bombs in pencil cases, bring them to school and willfully show it to their teachers while explaining what it actually is? Didn’t know this was a thing, kids these days what with their reefer/jazz music/pencil case hoax bombs.

          Here’s a quick primer on how you can gauge whether your ‘hypothesis’ veers from potential skeptical inquiry to batshit Alex Jones-level insanity: Does the protagonist in your fantastical story have to *simultaneously* be a complete imbecile while also exhibiting traits of a Machiavellian genius?

          So Ahmed willfully created a ‘hoax-bomb’. He did this to…well, what? What exactly would be the point? Don’t hide behind the facile “Hey, I’m just asking questions!” shtick that cowardly media outlets use whenever they actually want to make an insinuation with a question.

          Ok, let’s take your first hypothesis (cough): He wanted to ‘push buttons’ – what buttons these are, how far he wanted to push them, why he wanted to push them in the first place – detailing these so we at least have a semi-coherent point is not your concern apparently. The only time I’ve seen any sort of paper-thin extrapolation on this argument is that this was all part of a plan to gain sympathy for Muslims of some kind, presumably from the sjw’s/liberal media.

          Ok. So, here’s the “Ahmed likely struggles with basic motor skills” angle:

          1.) Despite being a Muslim in a conservative district in a post 9-11 America and despite having directly experienced bulling because of that fact, he actually thought creating a fake bomb would be a sensible way of drawing attention and not in any way a completely idiotic and foolhardly endeavor. Bear in mind, this kid had the temerity to blow soap bubbles in a bathroom, so long-term planning is apparently not an established skill for him yet.

          2) With #1 in mind, he began his plan of provocation by…showing his ‘hoax bomb’ to his engineering teacher before class, and you could say somewhat derailed the scare-factor by explaining that *it was a clock*.

          Major tactical error there kids – take note! When you want to create a hysterical reaction by manipulating the 9-11 lizard brain portion of your target audience, it’s really, really dumb to first present you plan to people in positions of authority beforehand…and further compound that mistake by explaining to them that you don’t actually have any plan. For the love of Allah Ahmed, you really suck at faux-terrorism.

          However, there are also aspects of this conspiracy where you must give points to Ahmed for simultaneously being a brilliant troll (and note: a *confident* one at that, perhaps demonstrating the shy nerdy kid persona was part of a larger 14-year grift)!

          3) Despite his engineering teacher foolishly taking his word that his clock was actually a clock, he was undeterred. He knew his English teacher was far more suspect of timepieces in general, and subsequently set the alarm on his device to beep during class.

          4) He knew that she would confiscate the device out of fear that it was a bomb, and would be immune to arguments such as “Well that’s what clocks do when they have an alarm”, because Ahmad did his homework.

          5) He also knew that this would set off a chain of events leading to:

          The police being called.
          Being threatened with suspension.
          Taken to a detention centre.
          A massive media firestorm.

          You have to understand though, hat this seemingly improbable chain of events was in fact completely foreseen by Ahmed, this was simply the price he was willing to pay. Except it wasn’t much of a price, as Ahmed – brilliant, supremely confident 14-year old tactician that he was – would never actually suffer any lasting punishment.

          6) Finally, he would then be offered a visit to the White House by THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF.

          Mission Accomplished.

          And Dawkins doubts this child’s ingenuity? Pshaw.

  6. November 24, 2015 at 1:56 pm —

    Thank you for summarizing what I was trying not to look at. Lol. He’s become such a joke. His punching down sickens me.

  7. November 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm —

    As for the Atheist ‘community’, as represented by Dawkins and others who shall remain nameless (but might rhyme with shlermer), I feel the same way. I used to be involved, and now I want nothing to do with most of the organizations out there. One by one they seem to be discrediting themselves. If a 51-year old white guy like me wants nothing to do with them, they’ve really gone a long way from reason.

  8. November 24, 2015 at 2:43 pm —

    Twitter has started the #ClockTruthers hashtag. This being my personal fav:
    “#ClockTruthers “Actually it’s about ethics in clock-making.”
    https://twitter.com/tauriqmoosa/status/669238459668824066

    • November 24, 2015 at 5:55 pm —

      I was going to post something snarky about conspiracy theory thinking and how Clock Kid doing absolutely nothing hoax-like was proof of the diabolical cleverness of his hoax, but I guess once again the twittersphere has beaten me to it.

      I also googled horology and immediately found this image. Imagine if he had brought this to school, with all its pointy bits!

      • November 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm —

        No need to go to Twitter, there is an example of that sort of thinking right above you.

        After all, we don’t have any proof that this wasn’t a hoax so it might have been a very clever hoax and we shouldn’t tell a old dude with known foot-in-mouth disease that he is wrong unless we can prove that he is wrong.

        See how that works?

        • November 25, 2015 at 4:35 am —

          Yes, the thing right above me was Particles’ original comment which was what motivated my original, never posted, snark attack, but then I saw Amy’s comment about #ClockTruthers and saw (as usual) the Internet had totally out-done me. Then Particles jumped the snark with its second post (6 minutes) later… I do see how it works.

  9. November 24, 2015 at 3:25 pm —

    Amy – How could you have written this without so much as a mention of Dawkin’s “hoax” to receive free honey?

    Are you getting a sweet, sweet kickback?

    • November 24, 2015 at 3:49 pm —

      I’m sorry, what? I can’t hear you over these delicious, freshly baked, honey drenched biscuits.

  10. November 24, 2015 at 4:22 pm —

    Hell, even if the clock had been a hoax, it’s not about the fucking clock. It’s about how the kid got treated for taking a clock to school.
    Even if Ahmed Mohammed were such a genius mastermind to cleverly plan his own assault and arrest at the hands of bigotted police, it would still not make the actions of the police ok.

    Oh, and yeah, one brown kid doing something horrible means they’re all like that. Obviously. This justifies killing boys over 12 with drones because they might be terrorists.

    • November 24, 2015 at 9:12 pm —

      I logged in for the first time in a while just to echo this. Hoax, no hoax, attitude, no attitude, agenda, no agenda, the school, police and city violated his civil rights without even the flimsiest of excuses to hang their hats on.

    • November 24, 2015 at 9:35 pm —

      “It’s about how the kid got treated for taking a clock to school.”

      OK, well, I have to laugh here. I mean, you’re introducing a hypothetical and then ignoring it completely and jumping to ridiculously exaggerated conclusions. If it HAD been intentionally designed to look like a bomb, he wouldn’t have just been “taking a clock to school,” he would have been deliberately trying to get a reaction by making something look like a bomb. Again, ignoring Dawkins’ pointless speculations about motives and hoaxes, that’s the kind of thing you might expect an adolescent boy to do. How should that be dealt with? Definitely not by treating him like a criminal. Definitely not by way overcompensating and automatically treating this as an open and shut case of bigotry.

      I thought skepticism was about reacting to facts and logic, and not using news cycles to attack our targets of choice and blow shit out of proportion.

      • November 25, 2015 at 1:09 am —

        It blows my mind that this is the kind of thinking that passes as “critical” and “skeptical.” It looks more like conspiracy theories than anything.

        Here, let me deconstruct what you’ve written to try to show to you how you are drawing conclusions from imagined possibilities rather than the actual evidence we have available.

        Your entire argument rests on this premise: “If it HAD been intentionally designed to look like a bomb” All current evidence points to this not being the case. Ahmed, from the start, denied that it was a bomb or was intended to look like a bomb. What evidence can you provide to show that he is lying? In an earlier comment above you lament skeptics being unable to extend the benefit of the doubt, yet here you sit refusing to extend that courtesy to Ahmed.

        “Again, ignoring Dawkins’ pointless speculations about motives and hoaxes” The problem is that you are engaging in the same pointless speculations about motives and hoaxes.

        “that’s the kind of thing you might expect an adolescent boy to do” Based on what evidence? Please produce something–anything–that shows that adolescent boys should be expected to reverse engineer clocks to look like bombs.

        “How should that be dealt with?” Why do we need to engage in this hypothetical? Everything you base this question on is imaginary speculation.

        “Definitely not by way overcompensating and automatically treating this as an open and shut case of bigotry.” Why is it more likely to you that Ahmed was engaged in the behavior of building a hoax bomb than that school staff and police officials in freaking Texas treated him with prejudice? It astounds me that people in this community get all upset about accusations of sexual harassment and rape and claim we have to wait until some court makes a ruling, but yet in this case Ahmed was cleared of any wrongdoing by police and never charged with any crime and we are meant to believe he is somehow guilty of all these malicious behaviors. I seriously do not understand how that kind of cognitive dissonance can occur.

        “I thought skepticism was about reacting to facts and logic” This is painfully hilarious after you just wrote a whole paragraph with zero facts in it. Why don’t you start by fixing your own critical thinking errors before pointing fingers at others.

        “not using news cycles to attack our targets of choice and blow shit out of proportion.” You know, it’s so easy for you to say this is “blowing shit out of proportion” because you’re all drugged up on white privilege. You’re so high on it that you will literally make up alternative realities to excuse what should be very obvious racist/xenophobic behaviors and words.

        • November 25, 2015 at 2:40 am —

          Excellent comment, Will.

          First of all, Particles, even if it had been a hoax, that doesn’t excuse the police continuing to question Ahmed after he asked for his parents. And it doesn’t excuse the police lying to and stonewalling Ahmed’s father.

          However, as Will says, being skeptical doesn’t mean giving equal credence to every conceivable hypothesis that hasn’t been definitively disproven. It means following what the evidence indicates, and using our critical-thinking faculties. In this case, there is zero evidence that Ahmed intended the clock to be a hoax bomb. He repeatedly denied that it was a bomb. And no one seems to have actually believed that it was a bomb, since they didn’t evacuate the school. So the argument is reduced to: “This kid brought in a clock that he said was a clock but I think he wanted people to think it was a bomb.” I mean, heck, I can’t disprove that hypothesis since I don’t live inside Ahmed’s head. But believing that hypothesis in the absence of evidence for it is the opposite of skepticism.

          • November 25, 2015 at 11:17 am

            Yeah, I mean. He’s a kid. The thing looked like a bomb. Common sense just suggests that he prolly did it on purpose for kid motivations, and of course he’s going to deny it was intended to look like a bomb. That suggestion is strong enough to make this whole thing seem less simple than you seem to want it to be.

            Deconstruct this reply too if you like, all you’re doing is removing context line by line to make it easier for you to refute in favor of protecting your continuous assumptions.

          • November 25, 2015 at 12:28 pm

            Nothing says “skeptic” like appeals to “common sense” and a poor understanding of the role of prior probability in evaluating evidence.

          • November 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm

            “the thing looked like a bomb”

            Except no. The thing looked like a number-display screen, some wires, and a pcb. No one actually thought it was a bomb. He didn’t do anything to suggest it was a bomb.

          • November 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm

            Ah, those bewildering KID MOTIVATIONS

            “We can’t possibly understand what’s going on in a 14 year olds brain…that being said, let me just prescribe the most hilariously nefarious motivations to him just in case”

      • November 27, 2015 at 12:12 pm —

        Produce evidence that bombs in real life, even bombs set to go off at a specific time, have giant clocks on them.

  11. November 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm —

    How exactly is it common sense that he “prolly did it for kid motivations”? That is a mighty big laep for someone as skeptical as yourself.

    Add to that the ” of course he’s going to deny it” justification to believe that what he denies must actually be true and you, who are here to call us un-skeptical, are drifting dangerously towards tin foil hat territory yourself.

    Wait, is Dawkins infecting his followers with his wacko conspiratorial thinking? No, that would mean thoughts could spread like contagions, maybe even like viruses.

    Oh no, the god virus has mutated. RUN FOR IT MARTY!

    • November 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm —

      Sure. I don’t believe one thing or another. My point from the very beginning, which nobody has addressed, is that I don’t get why you all seem so sure. Everything I’ve said since has been to illustrate why it doesn’t make sense to be so sure, and that you guys are overreacting to the overreaction instead of acknowledging the full breadth of the situation.

      That’s been my problem lately with liberal reactionary thinking. A lot of times it’s right one, sometimes it’s not exactly right on but it’s necessary as a counterbalance to the other side. But rational, measured thinking should be there waiting when the dust settles. I’ve seen skepticism as filling that role. I’ve personally always identified with what the media would call liberalism, what I would call humanism. But I’ve learned a lot from this movement, too. Sometimes things look a lot simpler than they are, and we aren’t going to learn the right lessons from adverse circumstance by generalizing and oversimplifying, and lazily belittling opposing viewpoints, all in service of giving our flags firm places to be planted. It just seems important to keep all the elements of the story in mind. That’s all.

      • November 25, 2015 at 3:30 pm —

        But you’re being a bad skeptic, that’s what we’re reacting to. P(A|B) = {P(A) * P(B | A)} / {P(B)}, right? You’re forgetting that you need the prior probabilities of A and B. To need to “keep an open mind”, you would need a pretty high prior for the probability that a kid would make a bomb. Where are you getting that from?

      • November 25, 2015 at 5:27 pm —

        It just seems important to keep all the elements of the story in mind. That’s all.

        But “the story” is exactly what is at stake. You and Dawkins are trying to make “the story” about whether or not a 14-year-old kid built a hoax bomb in order to “extort” the state of Texas (somehow that’s a “more simple” explanation to you than he is a tinkerer and was racially/ethnically profiled in post-9/11 America). We are demanding that you not add imaginary scenarios and claims to “the story” and try to pass it off as skepticism. We want you instead to draw on what we actually know from all of the available evidence, some of which is:
        – Ahmed was cleared by police of any wrongdoing
        – he was disallowed access to his parents or an attorney while under arrest
        – they moved to Qatar because Ahmed got a scholarship and his family said they were being harassed and were scared of being accused/associated with terrorism, which is exactly what Richard Dawkins is doing.

        You’re not trying to “keep all the elements of the story in mind.” In fact, you are trying to add additional elements in order to try to discount the most obvious explanation for why Ahmed was treated the way he was. You are trying to distract from the reality of racism, particularly as it is directed at Muslims in the US today. You are not being a skeptic, you are literally theorizing a conspiracy, not just on the part of Ahmed and his family, but on the part of us here and the “liberal” media, all in cahoots to obscure reality and smear the police and the school. That is more likely to you than the thought that maybe we are actually looking at things as they are. We do not need to invent imagined scenarios and create fantasies about the nature of male adolescence to support our position. You do, and that should give you pause as a self-identified skeptic. The way you appear here in these comments is just as any other kind of conspiracy theorist who will answer any critique with a dismissal rather than consider the possibility that you might be wrong.

        You say you don’t believe one thing or another and that you’re just pointing out our overreaction. But dude that’s a claim based in your beliefs–your beliefs about what is an acceptable reaction to racism, harassment, and posting absurd tweets that literally compare a 14-year-old kid who tinkers with electronics to a kid who was made to behead someone. Who in the hell made you the arbiter of what levels or kinds of reaction are acceptable? Maybe if you stopped trying to pretend as if you are a Vulcan for two seconds, you would see that people react in different ways because they are subject to more kinds of marginalization and oppression than you are. I mean seriously, how the hell can you call yourself a humanist when you insist that everyone be an automaton robot and never have emotional reactions to anything? Your devaluing of emotion and insistence on people only reacting to injustice in ways you agree with is not humanism. It’s oppression.

      • November 25, 2015 at 10:58 pm —

        Sure. I don’t believe one thing or another. My point from the very beginning, which nobody has addressed, is that I don’t get why you all seem so sure.

        Which is a lazy way to say “I’m just asking questions”, which puts you on level with Fox News and every tabloid ever. Congrats on that!

  12. November 25, 2015 at 7:14 pm —

    Honestly, I’m really failing to see why the “$15M demand!” is supposed to be evidence of the kid’s scammy, scammy ways.
    I mean, ok, sure, let’s assume right now, for the sake of argument, that it was all a total stitch up. It was a deliberate incitement. Let’s grant that for the next minute or two.
    Who was it who had him arrested and interrogated him without his parents present? Did he make that call himself? Did he choose to assert that the clock was a bomb, but make no effort to actually evacuate the area, thus putting the lie to any claim that anybody competent believed it was a bomb?
    At best you might have a case for entrapment. (I have no idea if entrapment is actually a thing that exists, legally, outside of the police trying to engineer events.) But no matter how thoroughly you bait a trap, you cannot make your prey stumble into the trap if it’s not properly baited. I doubt you’ll attract a deer into a trap with freshly killed rabbit. (I have no idea why I’m going so far down this trapping analogy… it’s kinda weird. I’ve never hunted or trapped in my life. I saw a deer, once, and a few squirrels and foxes?) If it was a trap, there’s still only one reason they fell into it, and that reason is exactly why it’s legitimate for them to be suing.
    Frankly, his motives, and the motives of his family, are kind of irrelevant here. Sure, there’d be an ethical issue if they went out of their way to arrange it, but how do you arrange for someone to act like a massive racist if they’re not actually racist? Even if they’re all sitting at home, rubbing their hands together like cartoon characters and cackling villainously, the school was still completely in the wrong.

    • November 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm —

      Yeah, I mean the one thing the school would have in your scenario is that making a hoax bomb is actually not legal. So if he intended for it to be a hoax bomb, he was breaking the law.

      But there’s nothing to suggest that he had any interest in perpetuating a hoax that it was a bomb. For everyone who says it looked like a bomb — no! it looked like wires and a pcb. A bomb is something that explodes. It did not look like a bomb. He never said it was a bomb. Every time someone asked him what it was, he said it was a clock.

      The charge of hoax bomb needs to have more evidence than, “Naaa, he definitely meant that as a hoax.”…

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