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August 12, 2006


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Jeff Medcalf

True as far as it goes. I'd like to see some examples of terror plots by grannies from Skye, though. As far as I can tell, the terrorist attacks that most concern us, the possible targets (that is, mass casualty attacks against civilians), are almost entirely committed by young Muslim men. Of all terror attacks against civilians, it would appear that the overwhelming majority since the mid 1980s have been committed by Muslims. (And if you eliminate separatist movements like the IRA and the Basque and the Tamil Tigers, we're back up to virtually all remaining attacks being committed by Muslims.)

So, yes, profiling can be a very good thing. (Though in this case, it's not racial profiling, but religious or, better yet, ideological profiling: Islam is not a race; Islamism is not a religion, but Islamists are Muslims.) It is, as you might say, efficient, because we do know the community from which these attacks generally come. While Malkin is not presenting a scientifically supported case, and anecdotal evidence must be examined carefully because it can be misleading, I cannot comprehend a situation where a scientifically-supported case would find anything other than what Malkin is alluding to.

Matthew Hurst


Your points are fair and rational. The post was intentially overly abstract. However, the point I wanted to make was:

We live in an information age. Unfortunately, the average consumer of mass media (and other ramblings) doesn't pay much attention to the validity of the information broadcast. In addition, I don't believe that those who are intentially biasing and manipulating their presentation of information actually know how they are doing this. In a case like Malkin's the viewer doesn't actually know what part of the argument they need to take on trust as that part is invisible (the recall part - the part about the grannies from Skye).

Dr. Leslie Brown

Well all scientists get taught the difference between accuracy & precision. They're not the same thing, and its dangerous to assume they are. Accuracy is hit the bullseye of a target. Precision means to hit the same spot repeadetly (even if its off the board). We aim for both precision & accuracy in our measurements.

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