False Dilemma Fallacy: Definition and Examples


August 4, 2022False Dilemma Fallacy: Definition and Examples

Imagine this: Your mom texts you and tells you she’s stopping for ice cream on her way home from work. Then she texts again and asks, “Would you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream?”

She probably didn’t mean to do it, but your mom just offered up a false dilemma. By asking whether you want chocolate or vanilla ice cream instead of simply asking which flavor you’d like, she implied that chocolate and vanilla are the only options available. And maybe that’s the case—some ice-cream parlors carry only a few flavors. But if she’s stopping at a place that has cookie dough, chocolate chip mint, birthday cake, and a bunch of other flavors, she misrepresented that shop’s range of flavors.

When the topic is ice cream, a false dilemma can keep you from getting the flavor you really want. When it’s a political, social, or scientific issue, a false dilemma can warp your understanding of the subject and influence the decisions you make. That’s because a false dilemma deliberately presents only two options rather than the numerous possible solutions to an issue.

What is the false dilemma fallacy?

A false dilemma is a fallacy that misrepresents an issue by presenting only two mutually exclusive options rather than the full, nuanced range of options. Here’s a basic example:

  • If we don’t order pizza for dinner, we’ll have to eat the week-old spaghetti in the fridge.

Obviously, you have more dinner options. You can whip up something with what’s in your cabinets, or you can go grocery shopping, or you can order something other than pizza. But the person arguing in favor of pizza here is presenting week-old spaghetti as the only other choice, making the pizza look like the only good option in comparison.

This is why the false dilemma fallacy is sometimes called the “either/or fallacy.” It presents a scenario with multiple options and outcomes as a binary situation, often presenting one option as the only “good” choice.

Among logical fallacies, the false dilemma fallacy is an informal fallacy. This is because the flaw lies with the argument’s content rather than its structure. You can make a completely logical argument in the same format as a false dilemma, as in these examples:

  • If we leave our house too late, our only options are to skip the event or miss the opening speech.
  • The only company that made me an offer is in the logistics industry. I can either accept a job and pivot to logistics, or I can stay unemployed and continue looking for work.

In both of these examples, there’s no fallacy because the options presented are logical and truthful. With certain other fallacies, like the red herring and ad hominem fallacies, a claim can be both true and fallacious. With a false dilemma, the fallacy’s crux is that the binary options presented are not accurate.

A false dilemma can mislead readers or listeners and give them an unrealistic view of the scenario being presented. This can drive them to vote a certain way, support certain positions or causes, and perpetuate false ideas. Essentially, it prevents them from thoughtfully considering the issue at hand and coming to their own conclusions about it.

When is the false dilemma fallacy used?

The false dilemma fallacy shows up just about everywhere rhetoric is used. You’ll see it in political content, advertising, business pitches and descriptions. You’ll even hear it in person-to-person conversations.

It’s not uncommon for a false dilemma to be paired with another logical fallacy, like the straw man fallacy. For example, a political candidate might claim that your options are to vote for them or to vote for losing certain rights by voting for their opponent. This sets up the opponent as a simplified, rights-canceling straw man and conveniently fails to mention the opponent’s actual platform. It can also show up in conjunction with the sunk cost fallacy, which is when someone claims that since you’ve already invested time/money/other resources into a project, your only options are to keep going or abandon it and lose all the work you’ve done so far.

You might even find instances of false dilemmas in your own writing. Nobody is perfect, and we all make illogical arguments sometimes. For example, you might be writing an argumentative or persuasive essay and find yourself condensing your points in order to keep your essay at a manageable length. Concision is fine, but you want to avoid oversimplification.

When you go back to edit your essay, look for places where you might be misrepresenting your argument with a false dilemma or another fallacy. You can fix a false dilemma by reworking your writing to acknowledge the range of options available and, when necessary, explaining why you’re choosing to focus on two specific positions. You might also want to make a few word choice changes, like switching “always” to “often” or “never” to “rarely” and adding in other modifiers to eliminate any absolute statements that can’t be proven.

What are some common false dilemma fallacies?

Remember the example we gave earlier where your mom asks whether you’d rather have vanilla or chocolate ice cream? That’s a common way to phrase the false dilemma fallacy.

Sometimes, “would you rather” is a fun game, like asking your friend whether they’d rather be chased by one hundred puppies or by one hundred kittens. It can also be the basis of a thought exercise that drives you to think critically about how to make the choices you make, like whether you’d rather have the experience of studying abroad for a semester but graduate a semester later or miss out on that experience but save money by graduating sooner.

These are two examples of false dilemmas that can be harmless and, in the case of the second example, even helpful. There are other instances where a false dilemma can be used beneficially, like to make decisions easier or to simplify a scenario so a child can understand it. For example, a parent might ask their child if she wants to wear her green shirt or her yellow shirt when getting dressed in the morning. The child might have a drawer full of shirts, but by presenting this simple choice, the parent is empowering their child to make her own decision without overwhelming her with choices.

Customer service representatives and people in sales roles also use false dilemmas to make decision-making easier for customers. For example, a restaurant server might ask a guest if they want salad or french fries with their meal. The guest might be able to opt for no side or choose something different, like onion rings, for an upcharge. But by presenting the two standard options, the server is making it easier for the guest to choose what they would like.

What are some terms related to false dilemma fallacies?

You might have heard the terms “false dichotomy” and “false analogy.” Both share similarities with the false dilemma fallacy. In fact, some people don’t make a distinction between a false dilemma and a false dichotomy. Those who make the distinction define a false dilemma as a fallacious argument that presents the two options as the only two options, while a false dichotomy is the misinformed belief that the two options presented are the only two options.

A false analogy is a bit different. It’s the claim that because two things are alike in one regard, they must be alike in other regards as well. It’s similar to the equivocation fallacy. Here is an example of a false analogy:

  • Jessie is a teacher and likes reading. Cruz is also a teacher, so he must also like reading.

False dilemma examples

Sometimes, false dilemmas show up in business and advertising:

  • Use our fertilizer, or your crops will wither.
  • 5 out of 7 doctors recommend this medication over its direct competitor.

They’re also common in political ads and claims:

  • Do you want your taxes to go up? If not, vote for candidate X.

And persuasive writing:

  • If we want to make campus safer, we can either install more security cameras or ban visitors.

False dilemmas can help people, particularly children, make decisions by oversimplifying the options:

  • You can take a nap or sit quietly with a book during nap time.

False dilemma fallacy FAQs

What is the false dilemma fallacy?

The false dilemma fallacy is a logical fallacy that presents two mutually exclusive options or solutions to an issue, disregarding all other possibilities.

How does the false dilemma fallacy work?

The false dilemma fallacy skews readers’ and listeners’ understanding of an issue by failing to present its full, nuanced range of options. It can drive them to support or agree with things they otherwise wouldn’t because it presents two options as the only options.

What are the common false dilemma fallacies?

  • Vote for candidate X, or your taxes will go up.
  • You can either go to grad school or stay underemployed forever.
  • If we want to make campus safer, we can either install more security cameras or ban visitors.

The How And Why Of Boundaries


1. Food For Thought
Although we may have infinite love, endless passions, and the desire to help as many people as possible, our time in the world is finite. We cannot allow just anyone and anything into our lives. And we cannot become a bottomless bucket for other people’s trauma and emotions. If we do so, we’ll quickly become depleted and resentful.

Setting boundaries that help us manage our focus and energy are an integral way to regain our power and create more agency in our lives. Far from being selfish, they create opportunities to strengthen relationships and for others (and ourselves) to love us better.

2. Inspiring Post
Our latest Instagram post outlines the seven types of boundaries and what they can look like. [Link]

 

3. Free Science-Based Tool

My Boundary Response Plan. Articulating one’s boundaries in practice can be challenging, particularly when met with resistance. This tool uses implementation intentions to help clients stay calm and clearly express themselves when personal boundaries are being crossed. [Link]

4. Book Recommendation
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab. This practical book breaks down the what, why, and how of boundaries in a practical way that draws on CBT techniques. [Link]

5. A Question For Your Clients
Can you remember times in your past when you felt guilty for setting boundaries?”  Our relationship and beliefs around boundaries strongly influence whether we will successfully implement them in our lives. Many people believe that setting boundaries will make others love them less. Explore these thoughts and remind your client that the right people should appreciate their boundaries and respect them more for having them.

Pondering the First Fruits of the Assumption


By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bioarticlesemail ) | Aug 12, 2022

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary this Monday, August 15th. This feast day always evokes the best parts of summer for me, but it also is a signal that summer is waning and schools will be back in session.

Traditionally this has been a harvest feast, connected to the herbs and fruits of the season. There was a Blessing of Fruits and Herbs (including flowers) included in the older Roman Ritual for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The reason for the connection of the harvest blessing and the Assumption is that Mary is considered a “first fruit.”

But what are “first fruits” (sometimes written as “firstfruits” or “first-fruits”)? I have been pondering this term for a while…and there is so much room for wonder and meditation. As a modern culture we have been so separated from our agrarian roots that it makes that term not something in our everyday language.

The term “first fruits” begins in the Old Testament, reserving as sacred and offering as gift to the Lord the first and best of all harvest and flock. This sacred offering is mentioned in the very first book of the Bible, where Cain offers fruit that has fallen to the ground, while Abel offers fatty firstlings of his flock. The Sabbath observance is also a type of giving over first fruits to God. Later, with Moses as mediator for God’s covenant with the Israelites, the feast of Weeks or Pentecost was established, offering a sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest.

First fruits did not always mean harvests and flocks, but also first born of men, of families. But all first fruits were intended to be set apart for God.

Later came the imagery of the Old Testament talked about Israel being a first fruit of God, as the Prophet Jeremiah: “Sacred to the LORD was Israel, the first fruits of his harvest.” Other prophets repeated that God did not want hollow sacrifices and burnt offerings of first fruits, but a change in heart.

That is the historical and Old Testament basis of “first fruits.” For a farmer, it makes sense to offer “first fruits” of one’s harvest to God. I began to see the connection of some of the observances of the Liturgical Year, such as the traditional Ember Days and the Assumption with “first fruits.” But then I attended a funeral shortly after the feast and my ears perked up when I heard the Collect prayer for that funeral Mass:

Almighty God and Father,
it is our certain faith
that your Son, who died on the Cross, was raised from the dead,
the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.
Grant that through this mystery
your servant (Name), who has gone to his/her rest in Christ,
may share in the joy of his resurrection.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
All: Amen.

I realized that while the original images of “first fruits” related to harvest and first born, the New Testament and the Liturgy have used this term in different imageries.

Above all, Christ is the “first fruits”:

Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for “he subjected everything under his feet” (1 Cor 15:20-27).

But there are also other kinds of first fruits: there is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the first fruits:

We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies (Rom 8:22-23).

From the Pentecost Sunday Vigil Mass, Opening Prayer:

Dear brethren (brothers and sisters), we have now begun our Pentecost Vigil, after the example of the Apostles and disciples, who with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, persevered in prayer, awaiting the Spirit promised by the Lord; like them, let us, too, listen with quiet hearts to the Word of God. Let us meditate on how many great deeds God in times past did for his people and let us pray that the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sent as the first fruits for those who believe, may bring to perfection his work in the world.

The Preface VI of the Sundays in Ordinary Time:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God. For in you we live and move and have our being, and while in this body we not only experience the daily effects of your care, but even now possess the pledge of life eternal. For, having received the first fruits of the Spirit, through whom you raised up Jesus from the dead, we hope for an everlasting share in the Paschal Mystery. And so, with all the Angels, we praise you, as in joyful celebration we acclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts . . .

Eucharistic Prayer IV

…And that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him who died and rose again for us, he sent the Holy Spirit from you, Father, as the first fruits for those who believe, so that, bringing to perfection his work in the world, he might sanctify creation to the full.

Through our baptism, we Christians are also first fruits also:

Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures (James 1:17-18).

And in a special way, the early martyrs were the first fruits of the Church.

I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, 
and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand
 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 
I heard a sound from heaven 
like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder.
 The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.
 They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne,
 before the four living creatures and the elders. 
No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits
 of the human race for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished (Rev 14:1-3, 4b-5).

The Collect from June 30, 
The First Martyrs of Holy Roman Church:

O God, who consecrated the abundant first fruits of the Roman Church by the blood of the Martyrs, grant, we pray, that with firm courage we may together draw strength from so great a struggle and ever rejoice at the triumph of faithful love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

And the Collect from July 25, Feast of 
Saint James, Apostle:

Almighty ever-living God, who consecrated the first fruits of your Apostles by the blood of Saint James, grant, we pray, that your Church may be strengthened by his confession of faith and constantly sustained by his protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

And December 28 The Holy Innocents, Martyrs, Communion Antiphon:

Behold those redeemed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb, and who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.

Back to the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, we find that the Church also recognizes her at the “first fruit” of Christ. The second reading for the Solemnity of the Assumption is from 1 Cor 15:20-27:

Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for “he subjected everything under his feet.”

Florence Berger eloquently describes this connection with Our Lady on this feast:

This day, as you know, is the principal and oldest feast of the Virgin. It is the first harvest feast of the year and correctly so, for Mary was a first fruit to be gathered into the Father’s barn. Whatever good men have done, whatever harvest God has reaped, is due in some measure to Mary: for through Mary we have “partaken of the fruit of life”: through Mary “true life flowed out to all.” So when the harvest was ripe Mary became first in time and eternity.

Which has me back to pondering Mary both giving herself as a first fruit, but also offering her first fruits.

These examples of first fruits is not exhaustive. I have actually been pondering this since last year’s feast of the Assumption! I am only scratching the beginning of “first fruits” in the language of our Scripture and Liturgy. In pondering first fruits, there is a both an appreciation of the first fruits given to us, as in Christ and the Holy Spirit, but also a self-examination. Am I giving my best, my finest, my first fruits back to God? And on this feast of Mary, I have both her example of giving herself, the first fruits, to God, but also her help and protection in aiding me to prioritize and give over my first-fruits to Christ.

The Assumption Of The Virgin Mary Reveals Our Future


The Assumption – August 15
Now toward the end of the summer season, at a time when fruits are ripe in the gardens and fields, the Church celebrates the most glorious “harvest festival” in the Communion of Saints. Mary, the supremely blessed one among women, Mary, the most precious fruit which has ripened in the fields of God’s kingdom, is today taken into the granary of heaven.

—Pius Parsch, The Church’s Year of Grace

The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don’t know how it first came to be celebrated.

Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as Aelia Capitolina in honor of Jupiter.

For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.

After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem. One of the memories about his mother centered around the “Tomb of Mary,” close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.

On the hill itself was the “Place of Dormition,” the spot of Mary’s “falling asleep,” where she had died. The “Tomb of Mary” was where she was buried.

At this time, the “Memory of Mary” was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption.

For a time, the “Memory of Mary” was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the “Falling Asleep” (“Dormitio”) of the Mother of God.

Soon the name was changed to the “Assumption of Mary,” since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.

That belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves. What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that “Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven.”

In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: “Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth.”

All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Savior.

The Assumption completes God’s work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God’s crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.

The feast days of the Church are not just the commemoration of historical events; they do not look only to the past. They look to the present and to the future and give us an insight into our own relationship with God. The Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended.

In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven.”

With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.

—Excerpted from Fr. Clifford Stevens in Catholic Heritage

Things to Do:

    • The Directory on Popular Piety talks about the deep significance of this feast day. It also refers to the custom of blessing herbs:

      In the Germanic countries, the custom of blessing herbs is associated with 15 August. This custom, received into the Rituale Romanum, represents a clear example of the genuine evangelization of pre-Christian rites and beliefs: one must turn to God, through whose word “the earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seeds in their several kinds, and trees bearing fruit with their seed inside in their several kinds” (Gen 1, 12) in order to obtain what was formerly obtained by magic rites; to stem the damages deriving from poisonous herbs, and benefit from the efficacy of curative herbs.

      This ancient use came to be associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, in part because of the biblical images applied to her such as vine, lavender, cypress and lily, partly from seeing her in terms of a sweet smelling flower because of her virtue, and most of all because of Isaiah 11, 1, and his reference to the “shoot springing from the side of Jesse”, which would bear the blessed fruit of Jesus.

      This Blessing of Herbs is included in the prayers library.

 

    • In an age of sensuality and materialism the Assumption points out the dignity and destiny of our human body, extols the dignity of womanhood, and turns our eyes to the true life beyond the grave. At Mass today ask Mary for the grace to keep your mind fixed on things above and to aspire continually to be united with her and to be brought to the glory of the Resurrection.

 

    • Artists have loved to depict the Assumption of Mary. See this site for a nice collection of different paintings.

 

  • There are many recipe and activity suggestions in the Activities and Recipes sections. Consider serving “first fruits” for the feast day. See Catholic Cuisine.

 


The Surprising Way Crowd Size Affects Our Tendency to Cheat


Organizations would be wise to understand the psychology behind this phenomenon.

To prevent unethical behavior, think small—at least when it comes to the size of the group you’re trying to influence.

That’s the lesson from new research by Maryam Kouchaki, a professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School. Across several experiments, Kouchaki and her coauthors—Celia Chui of HEC Montreal and Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School—found that people cheat at higher rates in larger groups.

Why? The researchers found an intriguing self-fulfilling prophecy at work: people expect there to be higher numbers of cheaters within larger groups. This perception, in turn, increases the sense that cheating is common and therefore acceptable.

The study illustrates the importance of context and social norms in determining whether or not we behave ethically. After all, we don’t magically transform from saints in groups of five to sinners in groups of 100. Rather, we unconsciously cue off other people and what we expect their behavior to be.

“When you think your behavior is normative,” Kouchaki explains, “then it seems more defensible. Questionable behavior seems more justifiable when you think more people are doing it.”

Larger Groups, More Cheating

The researchers began their investigation by recruiting 88 participants to complete an in-person study. Participants were randomly assigned to a room with either a small group of 5 people or a large group of 25 people.

Participants were told they could earn money by unscrambling 10-word jumbles in three minutes, $1 for each one they solved. But there was a catch: they had to complete the puzzles in sequence to receive payment—that is, if they solved the first and third, but not the second, they would only be paid $1 for the first. They would also receive an additional $10 bonus if their performance was in the top 20 percent of the room.

Participants didn’t have to report solutions to the word jumbles—only which ones they solved, which presented a tempting opportunity to lie. And unbeknownst to them, the seventh word jumble was unsolvable, allowing the researchers to determine conclusively whose pants were on fire.

The results were clear: in the small groups, 27 percent of participants reported solving the unsolvable word jumble. In the large group, that figure rose to 54 percent.

“Questionable behavior seems more justifiable when you think more people are doing it.”

— Maryam Kouchaki

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

While these first two experiments found strong evidence of more cheating within larger groups, they didn’t explain why. So, for the next experiment, the researchers investigated that question directly.

They recruited 296 online participants, assigned them to either a large group of 100 people or a small group of 10, and gave them instructions for the word-jumble task used in the earlier study. Instead of actually completing the task, however, participants answered a series of questions designed to probe the mechanism underlying large-group cheating behavior. Researchers asked participants, for example, how many people in their group they thought would cheat, whether they thought cheating was in line with the norms of the group, and how likely it was that cheaters would be caught.

The researchers found that, as group size increased, the expected number of cheaters increased too. Statistical analysis revealed that this larger number of expected cheaters caused people to view cheating as more normative. Their analysis did not show a clear correlation between expectations of getting caught and the likelihood of cheating.

It’s worth noting that only the expected number of cheaters—and not the expected percentage of cheaters—had the effect of making cheating feel normative. Large-group participants expected that, on average, 36.95 people would cheat; small group participants said 4.55. This translates to a higher percentage of expected cheating in the small group (45.55 percent) than the large group (36.95 percent).

The researchers suspect this is related to a common fallacy called ratio bias. Studies have found that people will choose a 7-in-100 chance of winning over a 1-in-10 chance of winning, even though the odds are worse. This is because our fallible brains focus on the numerator and think, essentially, “well, seven is more than one—better odds!” Similarly, if you believe 37 of the 100 people in your group will cheat, it makes lying feel more prevalent than if you believe 5 of 10 people will cheat—even though this perception is not accurate.

In other words, our collective, if faulty, belief that others are more likely to cheat in large groups becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy by spurring more of us to cheat when we’re in those large groups.

Why Bigger Isn’t Better

How can we avoid the moral perils of large groups? Perhaps by keeping the competition pool small. By minimizing the number of other competitors, leaders can decrease their employees’ expectations of facing numerous cheaters and, as a result, reduce the odds that they themselves will cheat, Kouchaki and her coauthors suggest.

‘Where Is the Media?’: Persecution of Christians, June 2022


by Raymond Ibrahim

  • The Christians of Nigeria are, in fact, being purged in a genocide, according to several NGOs. Every two hours, one Christian there is killed.
  • “Heavily armed bandits, many of whom are said to be ethnic Fulanis, are waging their own form of Jihad; killing, abducting and terrorizing worship centers and educational institutions owned by churches as well as impoverished communities in the North and Middle Belt regions.” — Vanguardngr.com. June 19, 2022, Nigeria.
  • The Biden administration’s response to the jihadist onslaught against Christians in Nigeria…has been to remove Nigeria from the State Department’s list of Countries of Particular Concern: nations that engage in, or tolerate, violations of religious freedom.
  • “The landlocked Sahel state [Burkina Faso], one of the world’s poorest countries, is in the grip of a nearly seven-year-old jihadist insurgency. Thousands of people have died and nearly two million have been driven from their homes.” — Guardian.ng, June 28, 2022, Burkina Faso.
  • “Amoti came to our home very early in the morning and needed to know more of Issa [Jesus], whom she had seen in a dream…. she willingly accepted Jesus for the salvation of her soul….. then together we went to church in Nansana.” When she arrived home, her father “…ordered his sons to seize and beat her, then took a sharp knife and pierced her eyes,” one of her brothers who had tried to defend her later said. “I want to remove these eyes so that you stop seeing churches forever—even if you die, we are not going to bury you,” her Muslim father said. — Morning Star News, June 14, 2022, Uganda.
  • “After Bashir was ousted from 30 years of power in April 2019, the transitional civilian-military government… outlawed the labeling of any religious group “infidels” and thus effectively rescinded apostasy laws that made leaving Islam punishable by death. With the Oct. 25 [2021] coup, Christians in Sudan fear the return of the most repressive and harsh aspects of Islamic law.” — Morning Star News, June 20 2022, Sudan.
  • On June 6, a 15-year-old Christian girl told a court how she was kidnapped and raped by a Muslim accused of abducting and forcibly converting her to Islam and marrying her. — Morning Star News, June 7, 2022, Pakistan.
  • June 14 report tells the story of Rehmat Masih, a Christian man who, despite there being no evidence, “has been in prison for five months in a new fabricated blasphemy case. He is accused of profaning and desecrating the pages of the Koran, but in reality he allegedly simply refused an offer to change religion…. on January 3, “police arrested Rehmat Masih, accusing him of committing blasphemy and tortured him severely” in an effort to make him admit to desecrating the Koran, an offence punishable by life imprisonment under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code. On January 19, 2022, a bail application was filed for the defendant, but the judge rejected it. Rehmat has been in prison since, awaiting his trial. — asanews.it, June 14, 2022, Pakistan.

 

The Christians of Nigeria are being purged in a genocide, according to several NGOs. Every two hours, one Christian there is killed. On Pentecost Sunday, June 5, terrorists stormed the St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo State, Nigeria and massacred about 50 Christians who were peacefully worshipping their God. Pictured: State officials walk past wounded victims from St. Francis Catholic Church, on June 5, 2022. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

 

The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of June 2022:

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: On Pentecost Sunday, June 5, terrorists stormed the St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo and massacred about 50 Christians who were peacefully worshipping their God. Videos, according to one report, “showed church worshippers lying in pools of blood while people around them wailed.” Western media presented the attack as a baffling aberration for Nigeria, arguing, as the AP did, that “It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack on the church.” Not once did the AP even mention the words “Muslim,” “Islam,” or “Islamist,” in their determined attempt to ignore the fact that Islamic terrorists have routinely stormed churches and slaughtered many Christians over the years in Nigeria — for instance here, here, and here.

On Sunday, June 19, exactly two weeks after the St. Francis Church attack, motorcycle-riding Muslims raided two other churches in Nigeria: the Maranatha Baptist Church and the St. Moses Catholic Church. According to one report,

“[T]hree worshippers were killed while several others were abducted when the attackers in large numbers swooped on the worship places…. [T]he terrorists shot indiscriminately as they approached the various churches, killing three while several others sustained injuries.”

The Christians of Nigeria are, in fact, being purged in a genocide, according to several NGOs (such as here and here). Every two hours, one Christian there is killed. As a June 19 report notes, “Painfully, the attack on St. Francis Church was not the only one that jolted Christians in Nigeria. In fact, more than 100 worshippers were killed that week across the country.” Among these hundred other Christians to be killed, the report cited the murder of 32 Nigerian Christians inside their church “a few days before” the St. Francis attack.

The report added:

“Heavily armed bandits, many of whom are said to be ethnic Fulanis, are waging their own form of Jihad; killing, abducting and terrorizing worship centers and educational institutions owned by churches as well as impoverished communities in the North and Middle Belt regions.”

Such bandits and terrorists have further abducted or killed 35 pastors over the last 17 months. According to a June 26 report, as just one example, “bandits” gunned down and murdered a Catholic priest. The Biden administration’s response to the jihadist onslaught against Christians in Nigeria — where 13 Christians are slaughtered every day — has been to remove Nigeria from the State Department’s list of Countries of Particular Concern: nations that engage in, or tolerate, violations of religious freedom.

Democratic Republic of Congo: On June 24 and 25, Islamic terrorists targeted two Christian villages, where they slaughtered a total of thirteen Christians. The Muslims also torched many Christian homes and shops in both villages, and stole much of the residents’ property.

Burkina Faso: On June 27, “suspected jihadists” burst into a Christian baptismal and opened fire, massacring at least eight Christians. According to the report,

“The landlocked Sahel state, one of the world’s poorest countries, is in the grip of a nearly seven-year-old jihadist insurgency. Thousands of people have died and nearly two million have been driven from their homes.”

Uganda: A Muslim man stabbed his daughter in the eyes and killed her for embracing Christ. Earlier that day, Sunday, May 29, Hawa Amoti, aged 28, visited her Christian neighbor. “Amoti came to our home very early in the morning and needed to know more of Issa [Jesus], whom she had seen in a dream,” he said.

“After explaining to her about eternal life and forgiveness of sin that comes from Jesus who came to take away the sins of the whole world, she willingly accepted Jesus for the salvation of her soul. I then prayed for her, and then together we went to church in Nansana.”

After church, she joined the neighbor’s family for lunch at their home and stayed until about 5:45 p.m., when she left for her home. Her father, Haji Shariifu Agaba, and brothers were already aware of where she had been and what she had been doing. When she arrived home, her father “Agaba ordered his sons to seize and beat her, then took a sharp knife and pierced her eyes,” one of her brothers who had tried to defend her later said. “I want to remove these eyes so that you stop seeing churches forever—even if you die, we are not going to bury you,” her Muslim father said. The report concludes:

“Amoti’s wailing and screaming drew neighbors who rushed over to rescue her… As more members of the community arrived, Agaba and his sons went inside their house. Neighbors arranged for a vehicle to rush Amoti to a nearby hospital, where she succumbed to profuse bleeding from her eye injuries…”

In a separate incident, a court sentenced Alias Mohammed Wamala, a Muslim man, to life in prison for killing Christians. According to a local pastor, “the accused confessed to having killed Zulaikha Mirembe and several other Christians to fulfill what was written in the Koran about supporting the cause of Allah by killing infidels.” The report adds:

“During the trial, Wamala and other Muslims were accused of ritual killings as part of an occult practice that involved a shrine where the bodies were buried, [an] area Christian said.”

Pakistan: Two Muslims hacked a Christian farm worker, Younis Masih, aged 50, to death, before dragging his body through the streets with a hose tied around his neck. According to the June 23 article,

“The men used farm sickles and scythes to inflict large gaping wounds to the head and body of the murder victim. They then threw bricks at his head smashing his skull—probably to make sure he was dead. A hose was then placed around the neck of the corpse which was dragged through the farm onto the streets nearby the home of the murder victim. His family were later awoken at 3.30 am by the terrified employer of the deceased Christian who had found his dead body between the farm and the victim’s home. A police investigation later uncovered that the two Muslim men, both of whom owned neighbouring farms, were involved in the murder. As of now neither murderer has revealed the motive for the killing.”

“I could not recognize the dead body of my father,” said one of his sons: “His face was severely deformed due to the violence.” From the start, police have been uncooperative, the slain man’s family says.

“Though a dead body involved in a murder crime was on the streets, Bambanwala Police Station officers did not arrive at the scene of the crime till 7am. A delay believed to be induced by the fact that a ritually impure Christian was killed. It should be noted that the police station itself is only 30-40 minutes away from the place the body of Mr. Masih was found.”

Gulfam, another of Masih’s sons, said:

“We contact the police every day to learn of any development in their investigation, but police are not cooperating. Muhammad Abubakar Nawaz [one of the murderers] threatened me in the presence of the station house officer and they did nothing to stop him. He boldly told me that though he has confessed to murdering my father, there is nothing I can do to get justice. Though I am scared I will do all I can to seek justice.”

Irfan, his brother, added:

“The behaviour of the police is creating more agony. They have not explained why our father was murdered so brutally. We have no property or anything of value that could lead to such violence. We are poor people who labour to earn for our families. We demand to know why this despicable fate has befallen our father.”

Egypt: On Sunday, June 5, 2022, Abdullah Hosni, a Muslim man attacked a Christian, Kirollos Megali, with a meat cleaver in a village in Sohag. According to an Arabic report, Kirollos, who was rushed to a hospital “drenched in blood and with multiple stab wounds,” spent three days in an intensive care unit before succumbing to his injuries, including hack wounds to his skull. According to the deceased’s brother, Abdullah was locally known for harassing Christians. He had relocated to Libya for a time but returned two days before assaulting Kirollos. The Christian himself had been working abroad (in Kuwait) and was visiting family, when Abdullah knocked him off his motorbike and started hacking at him. According to the report,

“A state of anger prevailed among the village’s Copts, because the perpetrator, Abdullah Hosni, had previously assaulted and always harassed Copts, but no action was ever taken against him.”

Mourning Christians attending Kirollos’s funeral were heard to chant, “With our souls, with our blood, we will redeem you, O Cross. The rights of Kirollos must be returned—and where is the media?”

In a separate incident in Egypt, another Muslim man attempted to slaughter a Christian woman with a sickle. According to a June 15 Arabic-language report, Qassim Falah Muhammad attacked Mona Wafdi Marzouk, 35, as she was walking to her family farm early in the morning to assist her ailing father. Muhammad crept up behind her and began to strangle her; then, according to the report, “he grabbed a sickle and tried to slaughter her with it.” Luckily, the blade had dulled over the years and did not fully slice though the arteries of her neck. Muhammad then fled the scene, as reported by Mona’s cousin, Makari, who saw the incident from a distance and ran to the butchered woman’s aid. He and other family members quickly transferred her to the nearest medical center, where she received seven stitches to her neck. Although she survived, “Mona lives in a state of terror and panic after the harsh experience of this extremist person.”

While it is unclear why Muhammad targeted Mona, it is well-established that he hates Christians and has targeted them before. Just the day earlier, he had invaded the home of another Copt in the same village and robbed him of his money and possessions. In response to a police investigation, Muhammad’s family produced a certificate indicating that he is “mentally ill”—a tactic on regular display in Egypt whenever a Muslim is caught after attacking a Christian, to get him the most lenient sentencing. As the report notes,

“If he is mentally ill, why does he exclusively target Copts? Is it sensible to promote the ‘psychopath’ narrative in every single incident against the Copts—as if the mentally ill only see and try to kill Copts?”

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Egypt: On the evening of June, 23, 2022, Muslim mobs attacked the homes of Christian by hurling stones through their windows in al-Hilla, a village in Luxor governate. This attack occurred soon after Muslims learned that the Church of Michael the Archangel, built in 2003, had finally received formal recognition to begin functioning as a church. Soon after this news spread, the angry mobs, which were augmented by others from neighboring villages, had grown extremely large and, “amidst hostile chants” began hurling stones through the windows of Christian homes. According to the report, “the security force charged with protecting the church tried to rebuff them, but the number of assailants was too large.” Before peace could be regained, many Christian homes had been damaged; several vehicles and motorcycles parked in front of Coptic homes were also “smashed” or set on fire, including the vehicle of the village priest.

The following day, June 24, Luxor police forces reinforced their presence in the village in anticipation of more Muslim anger following the Friday mosque prayers—when imams habitually whip the faithful into a frenzy concerning the alleged sins of the “infidels” who need to be punished. Armed security and national forces, including several armored vehicles, were deployed all throughout the village, especially around the Church of Michael the Archangel, Christian homes, and surrounding mosques. Meanwhile, as the report notes, the traumatized Christians maintain that their “only sin” was to have “obtained an official decision to legalize the church.”

Sudan: On June 14, police marched into a church Bible study class and arrested two Christian leaders, Pastor Kabashi Idris of the African Inland Church and Evangelist Yacoub Ishakh of the Independent Baptist Church, where the Bible class was being held. They were arrested for “violating public order,” under Article 77 of Sudan’s penal code. According to their lawyer,

“[The pastors] were accused by a radical Muslim neighbor who filed a case against them at the police station in the area, prompting the police to arrest the two church leaders. The radical Muslim told police his children were singing the songs of the Christians and feared they might convert to Christianity.”

Although the Christian leaders were released later that day on bail, a guilty verdict could result in a prison sentence of up to three months, a fine or both, and the court could issue an order for them to cease worship services. According to the report,

“Following two years of advances in religious freedom in Sudan after the end of the Islamist dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the specter of state-sponsored persecution returned with a military coup on Oct. 25, 2021. After Bashir was ousted from 30 years of power in April 2019, the transitional civilian-military government managed to undo some sharia (Islamic law) provisions. It outlawed the labeling of any religious group “infidels” and thus effectively rescinded apostasy laws that made leaving Islam punishable by death. With the Oct. 25 coup, Christians in Sudan fear the return of the most repressive and harsh aspects of Islamic law.”

Turkey: On Sunday, June 5, ceremonies for the reopening of a historic church were marred after a large Muslim mob attacked a Christian family that had planned on attending the re-opening service. According to one report,

“The Yilmaz family—the only Assyrian [Christian] family who live in the village—were attacked at their home by a group of around 50 Muslims. The family were at the time entertaining visiting clergy who had come to officiate at the service. The attackers were led by a Muslim family with whom the Yilmaz family have had a long-standing dispute over land. The mob attacked the home with stones, sticks and other weapons. They then set fire to wheat being grown by the Yilmaz family.”

“They threatened us,” said Cengiz, one of the Christian Yilmaz family, “saying that they would not let us live in the village … But we are not afraid. We will continue to stay here.” The Christian family “accused the attackers of specifically choosing the day of the church ceremony to re-open the land dispute” and thus spoil the long expected event. Adds the report:

“The tiny remnant Christian community in Turkey is mainly historic Christian ethnic groups such as Assyrians (like the Yilmaz family) and Armenians; they still bear the trauma of the Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Greek genocides of the early twentieth century. During these genocides, at least 3.75 million believers were killed by Ottoman Turks, with many attacks occurring in south-eastern Turkey…. In August 2021 an Assyrian Christian village in northern Syria was bombed by the Turkish air force in a campaign against Kurdish militants.”

General Attacks on and Abuse of Christians

Pakistan: On June 6, a 15-year-old Christian girl told a court how she was kidnapped and raped by a Muslim accused of abducting and forcibly converting her to Islam and marrying her. According to a report:

“While most girls facing captors’ threats to harm them or their families are pressured into making false statements that they voluntarily married and converted to Islam, Saba Nadeem Masih of Faisalabad showed great bravery in truthfully sharing her ordeal before a judge, a human rights advocate said.

“‘Saba was in severe mental and physical trauma when the relatives of the accused produced her before police on May 31,’ Faisalabad-based rights activist Lala Robin Daniel told Morning Star News. ‘The recovery was made possible due to the pressure built by church leaders and rights activists by holding a daily protest from 7 p.m. till midnight.'”

According to the young girl’s testimony against her abductor, 45-year-old Muhammad Yasir Hussain, who has since gone into hiding,

“We were heading to work when the accused forcibly put me in a rickshaw after pushing away my sister. He then put something on my mouth due to which I fell unconscious….. He raped me for two days. I kept crying and pleaded with him to let me talk to my parents, but he did not listen.”

Discussing this case, local human rights activist Lala said:

“Today’s development is very important because it exposes how these predators sexually exploit underage minority girls and then prepare forged documents of Islamic marriage and religious conversion to seek immunity for their crimes. Saba’s statement proves that the Islamic Nikah [marriage] and conversion certificates submitted by the accused to the police are fake. He should now be charged with statutory rape and related offenses and made an example for all those who target minority girls for their evil designs.”

Discussing this same case, Bishop Azad Marshall, president of the Anglican Church of Pakistan, said,

“It’s very sad and tragic that a large number of teenage girls from both the minority Christian and Hindu communities continue to suffer sexual exploitation at the hands of these predators, but very few are able to pull such courage and share their trauma in public…. Rape scars the victims for life, and in case of girls as young as 10, one cannot even imagine the pain and horror these children of God have suffered in the cover of religion. Enough is enough.”

In a separate incident in Pakistan, a June 14 report tells the story of Rehmat Masih, a Christian man who, despite there being no evidence:

“Rehmat Masih has been in prison for five months in a new fabricated blasphemy case. He is accused of profaning and desecrating the pages of the Koran, but in reality he allegedly simply refused an offer to change religion. The police also threatened the family, warning them not to prosecute the case. As a result, he had to move to a safer location.”

For the previous 20 years, Rehmat, a 44-year-old father of two teenagers, had worked as a cleaner at the Zam Zam publishing house, which prints Korans. There, the “owners and employees had offered him to convert to Islam, but he had repeatedly refused to change religion.” Shortly after Christmas, 2021, his employers asked him about some torn pages of a Koran found in the sewage drain; he replied that he knew nothing about that. A few days later, on January 3, “police arrested Rehmat Masih, accusing him of committing blasphemy and tortured him severely” in an effort to make him admit to desecrating the Koran, an offence punishable by life imprisonment under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code. On January 19, 2022, a bail application was filed for the defendant, but the judge rejected it. Rehmat has been in prison since, awaiting his trial. The report closes by quoting several human rights activists on this situation:

“Malook Samuel described it as unthinkable that—with no eyewitnesses to the alleged event and no evidence—the accused is behind bars, while the complainants and witnesses involved in making false allegations against the accused enjoy impunity, and are not instead prosecuted for charges of perjury under Section 182 of the Penal Code, which provides for sentences of five to seven years.

“Pastor Tariq George added that it is regrettable that innocent people are being targeted to settle personal scores, and that this story was created to punish religious minorities who do not want to change their faith.”

Egypt: A June 19 report argues that “institutionalized discrimination against Copts in Egypt” is even evident in that nation’s diplomatic corps, based on an evaluation of 155 diplomats:

“Copts, the indigenous Christian inhabitants of Egypt, account for, at the very least, 10 percent of Egypt’s population, and should, therefore, account for, at the very least, 10 percent of Egypt’s diplomatic corps [though they are nowhere near that amount]. Nor is such discrimination limited to diplomatic corps; it permeates every state institution. As one recent example, on March 3, 98 female judges took the legal oath in preparation for assuming judicial roles in Egypt’s State Council. This was considered a major and unprecedented development; since its inception 75 years earlier, not a single woman had sat on the podium of the State Council court—and now 98 will. And yet, not one of them is a Christian—again, despite the fact that the Copts account for at least 10 percent of the nation’s population, suggesting that at least 10 of the 98 should have, for proper representation, been Copts.”

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Defenders of the West: The Christian Heroes Who Stood Against Islam, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location. It includes incidents that take place during, or are reported on, any given month.

Previous reports

© 2022 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

 

AddThis Sharing Buttons

Share to PinterestShare to More

Comment on this item

Name:
Email Address:

Comments:

Email me if someone replies to my comment
Note: Gatestone appreciates your comments. The editors reserve the right not to publish comments containing: incitement to violence, profanity, or broad-brush slurring of any race, ethnic group or religion. Gatestone also reserves the right to edit comments for length, clarity and grammar, or to conform to these guidelines. Commenters’ email addresses will not be displayed publicly. Please limit comments to 300 words or less. Longer submissions are unlikely to be published.

Copyright © 2022 Gatestone Institute.
All rights reserved.

The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. Both reserve the right not to publish replies to articles should they so choose.
Gatestone Institute is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, Federal Tax ID #454724565.

Gatestone Contacts

Contact: info@gatestoneinstitute.org
Editorial: editor@gatestoneinstitute.org

Terms of Use   Privacy & Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies to provide you with better services.
To find out more, please review our Privacy and Cookies Policy.

The satanic stabbing of Salman Rushdie and the dangerous Iran deal


Illustrative photo of a knife attack. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Illustrative photo of a knife attack. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Ruthie Blum
President Biden should consider the assault to be a metaphor for the dangers inherent in the West’s falling prey to the deadly machine that emboldened the terrorist from New Jersey. But he didn’t even dare to mention the “fatwa”—or terrorism—in his public statement.

The attempted murder on Friday of Salman Rushdie is the latest in a string of appalling incidents that ought to put the United States and its P5+1 partners to shame for their efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with the evil regime in Tehran.

Rushdie, author of “The Satanic Verses—the 1988 book that earned him critical acclaim in the West and a fatwa for his annihilation from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini—was about to address a large audience at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York when he was tackled and stabbed multiple times by a radical Muslim enamored of Iran.

Despite ridiculous reports of an unclear motive for the attack, the 24-year-old perpetrator, Lebanese-American Hadi Matar of New Jersey, made no bones on social media about his support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The only question is whether he plotted the killing purely for ideological reasons or also had his eye on the $3.3 million bounty on Rushdie’s head. Perhaps both, as they are not mutually exclusive.

His affinity for the IRGC and proxies was also apparent in his choice of name on the phony driver’s license he used as an ID to enter the premises: Hassan Mughniyah. The alias was a tribute to two arch-terrorists, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and Imad Mughniyah, the former head of the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based organization’s international operations, whose assassination in Damascus in 2008 has been attributed to the Mossad.

Though Matar appears to have acted alone, Iran’s state-run media and hardline pundits have been praising him to the skies for knifing the “apostate.”

The significance of the bloody assault, from which the 75-year-old Rushdie may not recover, is in its timing. Two days earlier, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) filed criminal charges against 45-year-old Iranian national and IRGC member Shahram Poursafi for trying late last year to hire individuals in Washington D.C. and Maryland to kill former American officials John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

According to the DOJ, the foiled plot was “likely in retaliation” for the U.S. air strike that killed IRGC Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. Since that time, the IRGC has been vowing to take revenge on America.

As the Rushdie fatwa illustrates, Iranians have a long memory; in this sense, Soleimani’s death is not only fresh in their minds, but will remain so for decades. Indeed, even Tehran’s denial of the targeting of Bolton and Pompeo includes a reference to Soleimani.

“Such baseless claims are made with political motives … [to] escape … responsibility [for] numerous terrorist crimes that the American government has either directly participated in, such as the cowardly assassination of General Martyr Soleimani, or like the terrorist crimes committed by the Zionist regime and terrorist groups like ISIS that have been committed with the support of America,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Wednesday.

The harsh response followed the E.U. announcement on Monday, as the latest round of indirect talks in Vienna between U.S. and Iranian officials came to a close, that it had presented to all parties a “final text” of the new version of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“There is no more space for negotiations. … So, it’s the moment for a decision: yes or no. And we expect all participants to take this decision very quickly,” E.U. Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday.

Iranian officialdom has yet to respond, but has expressed, through its media mouthpieces, displeasure with the document, which doesn’t meet the regime’s ever-increasing conditions for entering into an agreement.

Three key ones are: the demand that the International Atomic Energy Agency butt out of its business at undeclared nuclear sites; unfettered missile- and drone-development; and, of course, the removal of the IRGC from America’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations—on which it was placed in 2019 as part of former U.S. President Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on the Islamic Republic.

When asked by an AFP reporter on Thursday about the E.U. draft; what effect, if any, the “plot unveiled” against Bolton and Pompeo will have on it; and how soon Washington will make a decision, the State Department principal deputy spokesperson replied: “We and the Europeans have made quite clear that we are prepared to immediately conclude and implement the deal we negotiated in Vienna for a mutual return to the full implementation of the JCPOA. But for that to happen, Iran needs to decide to drop their additional demands that go beyond the JCPOA. Ultimately, the choice is theirs. This administration, along with our allies and partners, are preparing equally for scenarios with and without a mutual return to the full implementation of the JCPOA. The president, [Joe Biden], and Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken will only conclude a deal that we determine is in the national security interest of the United States.”

He continued by reiterating comments by Blinken.

“Our message to Iran is very clear,” he said. “We will not tolerate threats of violence against Americans, and that certainly includes former government officials. This administration has been clear that it will ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and we believe the best path to achieving that goal is through diplomacy. And as long as we believe pursuing a JCPOA is in the U.S. national security interest, we’re going to continue to do so.”

Less than 24 hours later, Rushdie suffered serious wounds at the hands of a single terrorist with little else at his disposal than a knife, love for the IRGC and a fatwa to honor. If the man who has come to epitomize the battle for freedom of speech manages to pull through the horrific ordeal, he will be deeply scarred, literally and figuratively, for life.

Biden should consider this a metaphor for the dangers inherent in the West’s falling prey to the deadly machine that emboldened Matar. But he didn’t even dare to mention the Islamic decree—or terrorism—in his public statement.

“Jill and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Salman Rushdie yesterday in New York,” he said. “We, together with all Americans and people around the world, are praying for his health and recovery. I am grateful to the first responders and the brave individuals who jumped into action to render aid to Rushdie and subdue the attacker.”

The mullahs thanking Matar and Allah for Rushdie’s plight are enjoying the show.

Does God care about your troubles?


Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

A great medieval Jewish scholar known as Vilna Gaon once wrote:

“In refutation of those who claim that God is not concerned with earthly matters, we declare that even in the presence of His glorious throne, where He is surrounded by thousands of angels, He is aware of the mundane needs of each individual”.

This idea of the holiness of the common things can be clearly seen in the futuristic hope of the Hebrew prophet Zachariah. We read in Zech.14:20-21:

“On that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “HOLY TO THE LORD. (בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יִהְיֶה עַל-מְצִלּוֹת הַסּוּס, קֹדֶשׁ, לַיהוָה)” And the cooking pots in the LORD’S house will be like the bowls before the altar. Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts (וְהָיָה כָּל-סִיר בִּירוּשָׁלִַם וּבִיהוּדָה, קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָה צְבָאוֹת)…

The above the example of the apocalyptic hope where even cooking pots in every Israelite home will be holy unto the LORD in such a way that it will be fit for the Temple use! Several months ago I finally published a book that so many people have asked for for such a long time:

The Protestant Roots of the Pronoun Wars


We now live in the age of the weaponized pronoun. Who brought us here? Believe it or not, one of the key players is none other than Martin Luther.

Remember the old saying “sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never harm me”? Today, society is more forgiving of people who throw sticks and stones than those who dare to refer to a person using the proper pronoun. Today, names have become weaponized in the ongoing revolt against reality.

How is it that calling someone by his given name or referring to him in accord with his biology suddenly became such an egregious offense? The truth is that we are living at the illogical conclusion of an error that started a long time ago. All that was needed was for our Catholic cultural momentum to fade enough to let these old errors come to the fore.

One of these errors dates back to the Middle Ages, with an English Franciscan named William of Ockham (1285-1347), better known simply as Ockham, famous for the principle of Ockham’s razor. Ockham was asked by his superior to defend the case of the “poor Franciscans” before the papal court in Avignon, France. These Franciscans were called “poor” because they believed that Christ renounced all worldly goods—even his kingdom and worldly dominion—and that those who truly follow his gospel must do likewise. Pope John XXII countered that such was impossible because God saw material possessions as a good. Indeed, in the Old Testament, God legislated the proper use of property and possessions.

Ockham’s solution was that God could change his mind. He could have established material possessions as a good in the Old Testament and then later decreed that the same things are evil. What matters isn’t whether a thing is intrinsically good or evil. What truly matter is God’s will, which isn’t bound by anything—even God’s nature.

Ockham’s idea was later refined and transformed into a philosophical system known as nominalism. Nominalism gets its name from the Latin word for “name,” nomen. Ockham argued that only individuals exist and that we tend to group these individuals together under a name. For example, humanity doesn’t exist outside the mind. There are only similar individuals that our minds group together, and we put the label of “humanity” on them. In the Poverty Dispute, a nominalist would argue that God didn’t call material possessions good because they are by nature good; rather, “good” was just a name that God temporarily called certain things. Then, later on, he would call them the opposite. The nature or essence of a thing—its constitution and properties—doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what God calls it.

According to Ockham’s thinking, the Incarnation becomes a kind of fiction. God taking to himself our human nature is arbitrary because “human nature” doesn’t exist outside our mind. It is only a name. He could have become “incarnate” in stone, or wood, or even as a different species. If God calls it sufficient to atone for the sins of whole world, it is.

Nominalism comes to us today through the mediation of Protestantism, whose most famous founder, Martin Luther, was a self-admitted nominalist. Although he didn’t sign on to everything proposed by this philosophy, his theology in the main reflects nominalistic thought.

For example, according to Luther, God makes us right with himself through a purely external means—namely, God legally calls us righteous even though we remain sinners. We’re not really made holy from the inside by God’s grace, but merely declared saved from the outside. Since faith is a driver of culture, the nominalism that permeated Luther’s theology spread through the lands where Protestantism dominated, seeping into everyday culture and cleaving people’s conception of reality into the world of faith, the soul, and the interior versus that of works, the body, and the exterior.

This habit of viewing reality took root, and centuries later served as a foundation for the modern feminist movement and the Sexual Revolution to bring nominalism’s will over nature to bear on the question of man, woman, and sexual identity. In her 1949 work The Second Sex, feminist Simone de Beauvoir previewed what would unfold. De Beauvoir sought to liberate women from male servitude by separating women from womanhood. Put bluntly, women are free only to the extent that they become like a man. Since female biology is so intimately tied to nature, feminine liberation must come by breaking (sometimes violently) those things that tie women to pregnancy and childrearing through abortion and state-run childcare.

But can a woman really become like a man? Are the words “man” and “woman” just labels, as nominalism holds? Interestingly, de Beauvoir rejected this type of nominalist solution because “it is easy for antifeminists to show that women are not men” (The Second Sex, p. 24).

That was 1949. The birth control pill, introduced in 1960, began to blur those differences by effectively disconnecting—indeed, virtually erasing—the connection between the marital act and procreation. By the time of the Sexual Revolution, the nominalist solution began to appear more plausible.

In the popular mind, once one of the most obvious distinctive differences between men and women (procreation) was erased, the only differences that seemed to remain were a few physiological features and stereotypes. What, then, is a man or a woman? They are labels that societies places on individuals with similar stereotypical traits. Get rid of the stereotypes, and what’s left?

It is the individual’s will. The interior feeling and thoughts of a person’s soul tells him whether he is male, female, or some other species. The body or biology is arbitrary, since abstractions like male and female don’t exist outside the mind. It is something we apply to similar things.

In other words, society has become like the god of nominalism, where the will is not bound by nature.

The nominalist move comes at a cost, because the definition of a word is itself an abstraction. That’s how, when experts in the field of gender studies, sexual fluidity, and other related fields are asked to give a definition as simple as “what is a man?” or “what is a woman?” . . . they are reduced to silence.

The Fearless Blog In Danger


The Searchlight.blog, domain name for the Fearless Blog is in danger.

Nigerian government’s restriction on individual foreign currency

transaction to $2O per month is a challenge to renewing the domain’s

Business Plan of $3OO.

This blog has been “packed” for that reason sadly.

PliscaPlace

All are welcome aboard the crazy train — but be warned, the world as you know it, is about to be turned upside down.

Malaysia's 1st Jubilee!

Information for Christians

All About Writing and more

Advice, challenges, poetry and prose

Teena Fey

A Long Island lifestyle blog that helps you to be the best you.

Highlanders Heart

this and that, thoughts ideas oddities suggestions hopes what ifs

Ominous The Spirit

Ominous The Spirit is an artist that makes music, paints, and creates photography. He donates 100% of profits to charity.

D Art Work

Art & Blog

In God's Service

Following In Faith

Yelling Rosa

Words, Sounds and Pictures

Travel Blogging Academy

Become a Story Hunter!

CMP Tech World

All about Science and Technology

Key of All Secret

Adding Rythms to Thoughts