Of Muslims and Syllogisms

The MSM and our pols have resolved to hide the fact that the terrorists trying kill us are Muslims. That’s illogical and counterproductive.

James Taranto pokes fun at David Rising of AP for his report on the recent UK bombs that conceals the Islamic backgrounds of all the suspects:

Dear reader, we strenuously caution you against jumping to any conclusions. Maybe the suspects are animal-rights zealots or antiabortion fanatics. Even if they are all Muslims, who’s to say that isn’t a crazy coincidence? We’re just putting this out here as a lead for David Rising or some other enterprising reporter to follow up on.

And here’s the allegedly tough Brit Prime Minister responding to the bombs (hat tip LGF):

The prime minister has told Cabinet members not to mention “Muslim” and “terrorism” in the same breath.

It comes after the European Commission issued a guide for government spokesmen to avoid offence by ruling out the words such as “jihad”, “Islamic” or “fundamentalist” in statements about terrorist attacks.

The intent of this censorship is benign – it’s an attempt to remind us that many Muslims are peaceful people.

But it wrongly assumes voters can’t tell the difference between valid and invalid syllogisms. Here’s a valid one:

Major premise: All humans are mortal.
Minor premise: Socrates is human.
Conclusion: Socrates is mortal

The terror version reads:

Major premise: All terrorists are Muslims.
Minor premise: Bin Laden is a terrorist.
Conclusion: Bin Laden is Muslim.

Nothing wrong with that. But the censors fear citizens are daft enough to fall for the syllogistic error known as the fallacy of the undistributed middle:

1. All students carry backpacks.
2. My grandfather carries a backpack.
3. Therefore, my grandfather is a student.

The Islam/terror equivalent is:

  1. All terrorists are Muslims.
  2. Abdul who runs the corner shop is a Muslim.
  3. Therefore, Abdul is a terrorist.

The error is in the sequencing of the terms in the premises – to get the example to work, we’d need:

  1. All backpacks are carried by students.
  2. My grandfather carries a backpack.
  3. Therefore, my grandfather is a student.

Most of us don’t need the lesson in logic, since everyday observation of Abdul who runs the corner shop is sufficient to convince us all Muslims are not terrorists.

So all the EU, AP, and Brown have to do is to tell the truth, and maybe – if they don’t mind being found patronizing – remind us occasionally that not all Muslims are terrorists.

If they continue to suppress the truth, citizens will simply mistrust their governments and MSM even more (if that’s possible) and lead many to believe those institutions are covering up the fact that all Muslims are indeed terrorists.


One Response to Of Muslims and Syllogisms

  1. cubicandi says:

    The Daily Mail conflates Islam with terrorism on a frequent basis.
    Many people read the Daily Mail.
    Therefore, many people believe Islam and terrorism are synonymous, even when they buy the paper from friendly Abdul down at the corner shop.

    I know it’s not a proper syllogism, but you get my drift. ..

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